What’s the meaning of “Qui gatta ci cova”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Qui gatta ci cova along with its pronunciation. Do you have a sixth sense for spotting strange things? Then this expression is for you!

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

Qui gatta ci cova

Meaning of the idiom

Qui gatta ci cova can be literally translated as “here a female cat is breeding”. Its meaning is equivalent to the English expression there’s something fishy going on, so it’s used as a synonym for “there’s something hidden in here and it’s not right”.

Linguistically, this idiom can be broken down into qui, which means here, gatta, which translates to female cat (male cat is gatto), and cova, which is a conjugation of the verb covare, to brood.

Usually it’s the hens that brood (covano le uova), though…

hen touching an egg with its beak

Le luci non dovrebbero essere spente. Qui gatta ci cova.
The lights should not be off. Something’s wrong here.

Pronunciation of Qui gatta ci cova in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Qui gatta ci cova
There’s something fishy going on

Jake non risponde da tre giorni. Qui gatta ci cova!
Jake hasn’t answered for three days. There’s something fishy here!

Where does Qui gatta ci cova come from?

It is thought that this expression comes from the stance a cat takes when it is about to ambush its prey. It crouches down and attacks in complete silence.

cat chasing a mouse

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Qui gatta ci cova!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Qui gatta ci cova 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.

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!

❤️ If you liked this lesson, consider sharing it with your social media friends who are also studying Italian.

Leave a Comment