Idioms with letters in Italian

In this lesson, you’ll learn the most common and interesting idioms with letters in Italian.

Let’s start!


Idioms with letters in Italian

The first we’re going to see translates as to dot your i’s.

Mettere i puntini sulle i

This is used to address a nitpicky kind of person.

Mettere i puntini sulle i
To dot your i’s
Literally: to put the small dots on the i’s

Il mio commercialista è molto preciso. Gli piace mettere i puntini sulle i.
My accountant is very precise. He likes dotting his i’s.

idioms with letters in Italian - dot your i's

Non capire un’acca

Latin used to aspirate h‘s, but Italian doesn’t. In modern Italian, hai and ai are pronounced exactly the same. You can’t really hear the h sound.

This gave way to the idiom non capire un’acca, meaning “to not understand anything”.

Non capire un’acca
To not understand anything
Literally: to not understand an h

Puoi parlare più forte? Non capisco un’acca!
Can you speak louder? I can’t understand anything!

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!


Non valere un’acca

Likewise, non valere un’acca was born. Since h’s don’t really serve a purpose in Italian, non valere un’acca means “to be worth nothing”.

Non valere un’acca
To be worth nothing
Literally: to not be worth an h

Non vale un’acca come cuoco. Brucia sempre tutto.
He’s worth nothing as a cook. He always burns everything.

idioms with letters in Italian - acca

Dalla a alla zeta

There’s a direct correspondence with its translation to English: from A to Z. From beginning to end.

Dalla a alla zeta
From A to Z

Questo negozio vende un po’ di tutto, dalla a alla zeta.
This shop sells a bit of everything, from A to Z.

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.


Imparare l’ABC

Contrary to what it may seem, this idiom has nothing to do with the alphabet. Imparare l’ABC means “to learn the basic theory of a subject”.

Imparare l’ABC
To acquire the basics
Literally: to learn the ABC

A scuola dovrebbero insegnare l’ABC dell’economia.
Schools should teach basic concepts of the economy.

idioms with letters in Italian - imparare l'abc

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