What’s the meaning of “Stare sulle spine”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Stare sulle spine along with its pronunciation. If you are an anxious type of person, this expression is for you!

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Stare sulle spine

Meaning of the idiom

Stare sulle spine can be literally translated as “to stand on thorns”. Its meaning is the same as the common English expression to be on pins and needles, so it’s used to describe someone who is very anxious and worried about something or someone else.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • stare (to stay or to stand)
  • sulle (on the)
  • spine (thorns, from spina, thorn)

You can also find the word spina in the Italian idioms non c’è rosa senza spine and tenere sulle spine.

green shell with thorns

For example, you could say…

Sto sulle spine da stamattina per i risultati dell’esame.
I’ve been on pins and needles since this morning because of the results of the exam.

Mi si è conficcata una spina nel piede. Ahia!
A thorn has stuck in my foot. Ouch!

Pronunciation of Stare sulle spine in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Stare sulle spine.
To be on pins and needles.
Literally: To stand on thorns.

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

Where does Stare sulle spine come from?

Standing on thorns is not very comfortable, is it? When you stand on thorns, you are probably fidgeting with your feet and trying not to touch the ground. You’re in a very uncomfortable situation that prevents you from resting. Anxiety (l’ansia) behaves in the same way.

anxious woman looking around her for frying eyes

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Stare sulle spine!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Stare sulle spine 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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