What’s the meaning of “Menare il can per l’aia”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Menare il can per l’aia along with its pronunciation. If you like stalling for time, this expression is for you!

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

Menare il can per l’aia

Meaning of the idiom

Menare il can per l’aia can be literally translated as “lead the dog around the barnyard”. Its meaning is the same as the English expression to beat around the bush, so it’s used as a synonym for “to stall, to stall for time or buy time instead of dealing with a subject or matter”.

Linguistically, this idiom can be broken down into menare, which means to lead or to beat depending on the context, il can, which means the dog (can is an old-fashioned way of translating dog in Italian, which is now cane), and per l’aia, which means “around the barnyard”.

barnyard with a few cows grazing

Non menare il can per l’aia. Dimmi cos’è successo.
Don’t beat around the bush. Tell me what happened.

Pronunciation of Menare il can per l’aia in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Menare il can per l’aia
To beat around the bush

Continui a menare il can per l’aia. Arriva al punto!
You keep beating around the bush. Get to the point!

Where does Menare il can per l’aia come from?

In the past, heavy farm animals were used to thresh grain in barnyards. Lighter animals such as dogs and chickens would have taken much longer to thresh the same amount of grain, hence the saying.

three sheep

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Menare il can per l’aia!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Menare il can per l’aia 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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