What’s the meaning of “Coprire le spalle”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Coprire le spalle along with its pronunciation. If you like to defend people, this expression is for you!

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Coprire le spalle

Meaning of the idiom

Coprire le spalle can be literally translated as “to cover the shoulders”. Its meaning is the same as the English expression to have one’s back or the verb to protect, so it’s used to talk about someone who protects someone else from harm.

Linguistically speaking, it can be broken down into…

  • coprire (to cover)
  • le (feminine plural definite article)
  • spalle (shoulders, from spalla, shoulder)
man helping an old woman walk

For example, you could say…

Vai a chiedere aiuto. Ti coprirò io le spalle!
Go get help. I’ll have your back!

Sto per entrare nel magazzino abbandonato. Coprimi le spalle.
I am about to enter the abandoned warehouse. Get my back.

Pronunciation of Coprire le spalle in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Coprire le spalle.
To have someone’s back, to protect.
Literally: To cover the shoulders.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.

Where does Coprire le spalle come from?

Suppose you are surrounded by a pack of wolves (branco di lupi). If you face the wolves alone, you can’t tell what the wolves behind you are doing because your eyes don’t have 360-degree vision.

However, if a friend comes to your aid and literally “covers your shoulders”, the two of you will be able to see what all the wolves are doing and no animal will be able to ambush you from behind.

a wolf facing right

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Coprire le spalle!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Coprire le spalle is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

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