Cercare il pelo nell’uovo

Cercare il pelo nell’uovo in Italian

Cercare il pelo nell’uovo
To be a nitpick

Literal translationTo search for the hair in the egg
MeaningNitpicking or looking for tiny flaws in something perfect
IPA pronunciation/tʃerˈkaːre il ˈpeːlo nelˈluːvo/

Where does this come from? Eggs don’t have hair. That’s why this idiom describes fussy people: they focus on what doesn’t exist so that they can find an excuse to complain. In fact, the idiom trovare il pelo nell’uovo also exists in Italian, literally translating to “to find the hair in the egg”.

It’s interesting to note that there are actually two translations for hair in Italian. Body hair on arms and legs and animal fur is translated as pelo (singular) or peli (plural), while the hair on our heads is translated as capelli (from capello, which means single hair)!

woman looking at her black hair

For example, you can say…

Il nostro insegnante cerca sempre il pelo nell’uovo nei nostri temi.
Our teacher is always looking for mistakes to complain about in our essays.

Mi sono appena lavato i capelli.
I just washed my hair.

Mi stanno crescendo dei bruttissimi peli sotto al mento!
I am growing some very ugly hair under my chin!

  • Cercare (to search for)
  • Pelo (hair)
  • Uovo (egg)
  • In (preposition)
  • Prepositions
  • Definite articles
  • All Italian expressions

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