What’s the meaning of “Farsi il mazzo”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Farsi il mazzo along with its pronunciation. If you are struggling to solve a problem, this expression is for you!

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Farsi il mazzo

Meaning of the idiom

Farsi il mazzo can be literally translated as “to do oneself the deck of cards”. Its meaning is the same as the English expressions to work one’s a** off and to put in a lot of effort, so it’s used to indicate intense effort or great dedication to work.

Linguistically speaking, it can be broken down into…

  • farsi, to do oneself, reflexive verb
  • il, article the
  • mazzo, card deck
man running with a parcel in his hands

Farsi il mazzo is an informal expression, but it’s not a curse word so it’s safe to use at work. Farsi il culo, on the other hand, features a curse word and literally translates as “.

For example, you could say…

Mi sono fatto il mazzo per organizzare la nostra luna di miele.
I worked my ass off to plan our honeymoon.

Abbiamo dovuto farci il mazzo per finire il progetto in tempo.
We had to bust our asses to finish the project on time.

Pronunciation of Farsi il mazzo in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Farsi il mazzo.
To work one’s a** off.
Literally: To do oneself the card deck.

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

Where does Farsi il mazzo come from?

Nowadays, mazzo is a deck of cards. In this expression, however, it means something quite different.

We have to go back a few decades to find Venetian women called impiraresse, from the old verb impirar, who used to string pearls on linen or cotton threads. These threads were called mazzi.

pearl in an ostrich

The more pearls they strung, the more they earned. That is why in farsi il mazzo means “to work very hard”.

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Farsi il mazzo!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Farsi il mazzo 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

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
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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