Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio

Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio in Italian

Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio
A leopard can’t change its spots

Literal translationThe wolf loses its fur but not its bad habits
MeaningNo matter what you do, you can’t change your nature
IPA pronunciation/il ˈluːpo ˈpɛrde il ˈpeːlo ma non il ˈvitsjo/

Vizio is the opposite of virtù, virtue.

Where does this come from? This proverb refers to the figure of the wolf in myths and folklore: it’s often depicted as a dangerous and mischievous creature that lures innocent people into traps, like the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood, Cappuccetto rosso in Italian.

The meaning of Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio is similar to the much less common proverb La lontra muta il pelo, ma continua a mangiar pesci, “the otter molts, but keeps eating fish”.

For example, you can say…

Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio. Chi fa del male continuerà a farlo.
A leopard can’t change its spots. Those who do evil will continue to do so.

Nonnina, che occhi grandi che hai!
What great big eyes you have, Grandma!


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