Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry

In this lesson you’ll learn the most common and interesting Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry.

Let’s start!

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Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry

There are many Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry. Let’s take a look at them.

Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo

The first we’re going to see translates to don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Aspetti is a conjugation of the subjunctive mood of the verb aspettare, to wait.

Chi ha tempo non aspetti tempo
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today
Literally: He who has time, may he not bide his time


Meglio tardi che mai

Tardi means late. Mai means never. You can guess that this means better late than never.

Meglio tardi che mai
Better late than never


Chi prima arriva meglio alloggia

Alloggiare means to reside, to live. Meaning, If you are the first one to show up you can get the best seat in the room.

Chi prima arriva meglio alloggia
Literally: He who arrives earliest has a better accommodation


Chi tardi arriva male alloggia

This is the counterpart to the idiom above. If you are the last one to arrive, don’t expect to get a premium seat.

Chi tardi arriva male alloggia
Literally: He who arrives late has a bad accommodation


Sveglia!

Sveglia literally translates to alarm clock, but you can use it to wake up someone who you think is too slow in what they are doing or is too naive about something… or is still in bed at 12pm. It translates the English wake up!.

Sveglia!
Wake up!
Literally: Alert!

Ti hanno fregato. Sveglia!
You have been conned. Wake up!

italian idioms for people who are in a hurry
Sveglia!
Wake up!

Datti una mossa, sbrigati, spicciati!

These are the favorite Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry. You will often hear these from parents, if you take long enough to get ready before going out. Hurry up!

Datti una mossa!
Hurry up!
Literally: Give yourself a move!

Sbrigati!
Hurry up!
Literally: Get moving yourself!

Spicciati!
Hurry up!
Literally: Rush yourself!


Chi dorme non piglia pesci

Imagine this scenario: you are a fisher (pescare means to fish). You happen to nod off as soon as a big fish tugs at your bait. The fish is strong enough to pull the cane out of your sleeping hands and then sinks into the water, never to return.

He who sleeps doesn’t catch fish. And loses their cane.

Chi dorme non piglia pesci
The early bird gets the worm
Literally: He who sleeps doesn’t catch fish

italian idioms for people who are in a hurry - fisher
Chi dorme non piglia pesci
The early bird gets the worm

Dormire in piedi

People who sleep while standing have no superpower. If you sleep while standing, it means you are dead tired and might doze off in seconds. You are asleep on your feet.

Dormire in piedi
To be asleep on one’s feet
Literally: To sleep standing up

Sto dormendo in piedi. Mi serve un caffè.
I’m asleep on my feet. I need a coffee.


Taglia corto!

Get to the point!

We all have that one friend who takes forever to say the littlest thing. Well, you can tell them this: taglia corto! Cut it short!

This idiom is usually accompanied by the scissors hand gesture: index and middle finger touching each other multiple times to simulate the two blades of a scissor cutting something.

Taglia corto!
Get to the point!
Literally: To cut it short


Fuggire a gambe levate

When you run fast enough, it’s as if you were flying on your legs. Gambe levate literally translates to raised legs. You can translate this idiom with the verb to hotfoot.

There are many other Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry and go for a run. We’ll take a look at them in a future lesson.

Fuggire a gambe levate
To hotfoot
Literally: To escape at raised legs

Il ladro è fuggito a gambe levate prima che arrivasse la polizia.
The thief hotfooted before the police arrived.


Fatto, ecco fatto!

These are really common Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry. They both translate to the English done!. When you are proud of having finished something, and want to show how fast you are in doing it, say ecco fatto!.

Ecco fatto!
Done!
Literally: Here done!


Partire in quarta

This is related to car gears. Those of you who can drive stick will know that it’s impossible for a car to start moving in the 4th gear. Well, it’s possible for humans. When someone leaves in the 4th gear, it means they take off at a very fast speed.

Partire in quarta
To take off at a fast speed
Literally: To leave in the 4th gear

Il ladro è partito in quarta prima che arrivasse la polizia.
The thief took off at the speed of light before the police arrived.

partire in quarta
Partire in quarta
To take off at the speed of light

Occhio!

This translates the English watch out!, careful!. Literally, occhio means eye.

Occhio!
Watch out! Careful!
Literally: Eye


Per farla breve, in poche parole

These Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry translate the English long story short. When you need to sum something up, use one of these.

Per farla breve
Long story short
Literally: To make it short

Per farla breve, sono arrivato in ritardo perché ho perso il treno.
Long story short, I was late because I missed the train.

In poche parole
Long story short
Literally: In a few words

In poche parole, non gliel’hai ancora detto?
Long story short, you didn’t tell him yet?


Essere di fretta

Literally means to be in a hurry. Use this if someone is bothering you.

Essere di fretta
To be in a hurry

Sono di fretta!
I’m in a hurry!


What next?

Click here to go to the Italian idioms for people who are in a hurry interactive exercises!

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