What’s the meaning of “Piantare in asso”?

Piantare in asso in Italian

Piantare in asso
To leave somebody behind, to ditch someone

Literal translationTo plant in ace (it has a horrible sound, I know)
MeaningTo suddenly abandon against one’s will
IPA pronunciation/pjanˈtaːre in ˈasso/

Piantare comes from pianta, plant. It can mean “to plant” or “to dump”, depending on context.

Where does this come from? To understand the meaning of this idiom, we must first talk about Greek mythology, la mitologia greca. More specifically, the myth of the lovers Ariadne and Theseus. After killing the Minotaur, Theseus and Ariadne traveled to the island of Naxos, Nasso in Italian. Here, Theseus left Ariadne in Naxos while she slept. The god Dionysus later found Ariadne and married her.

So the idiom started out as piantare in Nasso, “to dump [sb] in Naxos”, which later turned into “piantare in asso”. Aces have nothing to do with it!

a woman holding a flower pot

For example, you can say…

Il mio fidanzato mi ha piantato in asso per andare al bar con gli amici!
My boyfriend ditched me to go to the bar with his friends!

Ho piantato tutte le piantine di pomodori.
I planted all the tomato seedlings.

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