What’s the meaning of “Mettere nero su bianco”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Mettere nero su bianco along with its pronunciation. If you don’t trust spoken words, this expression is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Mettere nero su bianco

Meaning of the idiom

Mettere nero su bianco can be literally translated as “to put black on white”. Its meaning is the same as the English expressions to put in writing or to clearly state in black and white, so it’s used to make important texts (promises, contracts, etc.) official and binding.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • mettere (to put)
  • nero (black)
  • su (on)
  • bianco (white)

For example, you could say…

Saresti disposto a mettere nero su bianco quello che stai dicendo?
Would you be willing to put down on paper what you are saying?

Voglio la tua firma nero su bianco. Non mi fido di quello che dici.
I want your signature in writing. I don’t trust what you say.

hand signing a contract

Pronunciation of Mettere nero su bianco in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Mettere nero su bianco.
To put in writing, to clearly state in black and write.
Literally: To put black on white.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.

Where does Mettere nero su bianco come from?

Paper, la carta, is (more often than not) white. Ink is (more often than not) a dark color, either black or blue.

hands cutting a paper

When you write something black on white, it basically means that you are writing it down. This contrast of colors also has another meaning: black on white is clearly visible. The writer is not trying to hide any lies.

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Mettere nero su bianco!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Mettere nero su bianco 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

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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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