What’s the meaning of “Ridere sotto i baffi”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Ridere sotto i baffi along with its pronunciation. If you like to laugh at the expense of others, this expression is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Ridere sotto i baffi

Meaning of the idiom

Ridere sotto i baffi can be literally translated as “to laugh under your mustache”. Its meaning is the same as the common English expression to laugh under your breath or to snicker, so it’s used to describe someone who is secretly giggling at someone else’s expense.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • ridere (to laugh)
  • sotto (under)
  • i baffi (the moustache)

It’s interesting to note that baffi is a plural noun in Italian. The singular form, baffo, is used in the expression non mi fa un baffo, which means it doesn’t make a dent, it doesn’t faze me.

evil princess snickering

For example, you could say…

Perché stai ridendo sotto i baffi?
Why are you laughing under your breath?

I suoi eccessi di rabbia non mi fanno un baffo.
His outbursts of anger don’t baffle me.

Pronunciation of Ridere sotto i baffi in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Ridere sotto i baffi.
To laugh under your breath, to snicker.
Literally: To laugh under your mustache.

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

Where does Ridere sotto i baffi come from?

The origin of this expression is uncertain. Some people say it can’t be as old as the ancient Romans, because they disapproved of a mustache. Others say it must come from populations that were fond of mustaches, such as the Lombards or the Byzantines.

Either way, a mustache and beard (barba) can hide your mouth movements and make it easier for you to laugh under your breath!

man contemplating his beard

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Ridere sotto i baffi!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Ridere sotto i baffi 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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