Stare sulle spine

Stare sulle spine in Italian

Stare sulle spine
To be on pins and needles

Literal translationTo stand on thorns
MeaningFeeling anxious or on edge
IPA pronunciation/ˈstaːre ˈsulle ˈspiːne/

You can also find the word spina in the Italian idioms non c’è rosa senza spine and tenere sulle spine.

Where does this come from? Standing on thorns is not very comfortable, is it? When you stand on thorns, you are probably fidgeting with your feet and trying not to touch the ground. You’re in a very uncomfortable situation that prevents you from resting. Anxiety (l’ansia) behaves in the same way.

green shell with thorns

For example, you can say…

Sto sulle spine da stamattina per i risultati dell’esame.
I’ve been on pins and needles since this morning because of the results of the exam.

Mi si è conficcata una spina nel piede. Ahia!
A thorn has stuck in my foot. Ouch!

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