Occhio per occhio, dente per dente

Occhio per occhio, dente per dente in Italian

Occhio per occhio, dente per dente
A tooth for a tooth, an eye for an eye

Literal translationEye for eye, tooth for tooth
MeaningTo get equal revenge for a wrong
IPA pronunciation/ˈɔkkjo per ˈɔkkjo, ˈdɛnte per ˈdɛnte/

Where does this come from? This proverb has its roots in the Mosaic law. In ancient times, revenge could be much greater than the offense. Mosaic law of retribution, also known as lex talionis (legge del taglione in Italian), mandated that the retribution could not be worse than the offense. That is why we say “an eye for an eye”. You pluck out an eye, you get one of your eyes plucked out! 😉

La legge del taglione
Lex talionis (the law of retribution)

Moses parting the waters

For example, you can say…

Io farò a te quello che fai a me. Occhio per occhio, dente per dente.
I will do to you what you do to me. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Vendicarsi non porta mai a nulla di buono.
Revenge never leads to anything good.


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