Fare un buco nell’acqua

Fare un buco nell’acqua in Italian

Fare un buco nell’acqua
To try in vain, to fail

Literal translationTo make a hole in the water
MeaningTo fail at something or to achieve no result
IPA pronunciation/ˈfaːre un ˈbuːko nelˈlakkwa/

Where does this come from? You can’t really poke holes in water because the surface of any liquid (superficie in Italian) will stabilize and flatten out under the force of gravity. You can try as many times as you like to punch a hole through it, but no matter how stubborn you are, you are doomed to fail. You’re basically trying in vain.

There is also a shorter version as che buco nell’acqua!, which means “what a failure!”.

seaside with a beach and clouds

For example, you can say…

Non possiamo permetterci di fare un altro buco nell’acqua.
We cannot afford to fail again.

Non abbiamo venduto nemmeno un prodotto. Che buco nell’acqua!
We didn’t sell a single product. What a failure!

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