What’s the meaning of “Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca”?

In this short lesson, we will see what the meaning of the Italian idiom Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca is along with its pronunciation. If you are an early riser, this proverb is for you!

Let’s start! Iniziamo!


Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca

Meaning of the proverb

Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca can be literally translated as “morning has gold in its mouth”. Its meaning is equivalent to the English idiom the early bird catches the worm, so it’s used to mean that the early hours of the morning are the most productive throughout the day.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • il mattino (the morning)
  • ha (“it has”, from avere, to have)
  • l’oro (the gold)
  • in bocca (in mouth)

You can translate early bird or early riser with an adjective, mattiniero.

not an early bird kind of person!

For example, you could say…

Non dovresti alzarti così tardi. Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca!
You shouldn’t get up so late. The early bird catches the worm!

Paolo non è un tipo molto mattiniero. Spesso si alza a mezzogiorno.
Paul is not a very early riser. He often gets up at noon.


Pronunciation of Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca.
The early bird catches the worm.
Literally: The morning has gold in its mouth.

If you need help learning how to pronounce Italian, see the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.


Where does Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca come from?

This proverb is common in many languages, but the Italian version likely comes from the German idiom Die Morgenstunde hat Gold im Munde, which literally means the hour of the morning has gold in the mouth.

Anything golden is worth a fortune, so this means that the early hours of the day are the most precious of all since your mind is fresh and your body took a rest overnight! 🙂

man hiding gold inside a hole in the ground

And that’s it with our lesson on the Italian idiom Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca!


What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

Learn to speak Italian like a native? Easy.
Italian All-in-One For Dummies appeals to those readers looking for a comprehensive, all-encompassing guide to mastering the Italian language. It contains content from all For Dummies Italian language instruction titles, including Italian For Dummies, Intermediate Italian For Dummies, Italian Verbs For Dummies, Italian Phrases For Dummies, Italian Grammar For Dummies, and Italian For Dummies Audio Set.

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