Can che abbaia non morde

Can che abbaia non morde in Italian

Can che abbaia non morde
Its bark is worse than its bite

Literal translationDog that barks doesn’t bite
MeaningSomeone who talks a lot or makes threats often doesn’t take real action
IPA pronunciation/kan ke abˈbaːja non ˈmɔrde/

Where does this come from? It is thought that this proverb comes from a quote by the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni in his masterpiece I promessi sposi, The Betrothed: Eh! Le schioppettate non si danno via come confetti: e guai se questi cani dovessero mordere tutte le volte che abbaiano. The literal translation of this sentence is “gunshots are not given as easily as sugared almonds, and woe betide if these dogs should bite every time they bark”.

boss yelling at an employee holding a stack of filled glasses

For example, you can say…

Non aver paura del capo. Can che abbaia non morde.
Don’t be afraid of the boss. His bark is worse than his bite.


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