Coi piedi per terra

Coi piedi per terra in Italian

Coi piedi per terra
With one’s feet on the ground

Literal translationWith the feet on the ground
MeaningTo be serious, not prone to flights of fancy or unrealistic expectations
IPA pronunciation/ˈmɛtteːre ˈnɛːro su ˈbjaŋko/

Per terra literally means “for ground”, but it’s used to translate on the ground.

This idiom is very commonly found with the verbs rimanere and stare, which both mean “to stay, to remain”. Coi piedi is a more informal variation of con i piedi.

Where does this come from? When you daydream (sognare a occhi aperti), it’s like your flying out of reality, so your feet are no longer on the ground. When you are grounded in reality, you are aware of the world around you. The idea of this idiom is that you are rooted in reality and you don’t take off to chase your fantasies in the clouds.

man playing golf

For example, you can say…

Dobbiamo essere realistici e stare con i piedi per terra.
We have to be realistic and keep our feet on the ground.

Mio fratello ha sempre avuto la testa tra le nuvole, ma adesso che è diventato padre sta imparando a rimanere coi piedi per terra.
My brother has always had his head in the clouds, but now that he’s become a father he’s learning to keep his feet on the ground.

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