What’s the meaning of “Sputare il rospo”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Sputare il rospo along with its pronunciation. If you can’t keep a secret, this proverb is for you!

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

Sputare il rospo

Meaning of the proverb

Sputare il rospo can be literally translated as “to spit out the toad”. Its meaning is similar to the common English idiom to spit it out or to spill the beans, so it’s used to describe someone who is shy and submissive but still musters the courage to confess something that makes them uncomfortable.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom is very simple and can be broken down into…

green toad with darker spots

For example, you could say…

Coraggio, sputa il rospo: sei stato tu a rompere la finestra!
Come on, spit it out: it was you who broke the window!

Il ragazzo sputò il rospo confessando il furto alla polizia.
The boy spit it out by confessing the robbery to the cops.

Pronunciation of Sputare il rospo in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Sputare il rospo.
To spit it out, to spill the beans.
Literally: To spit out the toad.

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

Where does Sputare il rospo come from?

For many people, toads are disgusting creatures. They are difficult food for snakes to digest, and unlike innocent frogs, their skin is poisonous. When you spill the beans, you can’t keep your mouth shut anymore. You have to confess (confessare) what you’ve done.

girl confessing her love to a boy

Now imagine that a disgusting toad finds its way into your mouth: wouldn’t you spit it out immediately? 😉

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Sputare il rospo!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Sputare il rospo 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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