What’s the meaning of “Tirare la corda”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Tirare la corda along with its pronunciation. If you often overdo it, this expression is for you!

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Tirare la corda

Meaning of the idiom

Tirare la corda can be literally translated as “to pull the rope”. Its meaning is the same as the English expression to take things too far and also to push one’s luck, so it’s used to talk about a behavior where one doesn’t know when to stop doing something.

Linguistically speaking, it can be broken down into…

This expression is also found as tirare troppo la corda, “to pull the rope too much”.

Tirare can also translate “to throw, to toss”. For example, you can throw a ball, tirare una palla. In this case, however, it means “to pull”. To throw a rope is translated as lanciare una corda.

ninja throwing a rope

For example, you could say…

Questa volta hai tirato troppo la corda. Smettila subito!
You have taken it too far this time. Stop it now!

L’uomo lancia la corda al di là della recinzione.
The man throws the rope over the fence.


Pronunciation of Tirare la corda in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Tirare la corda.
To take things too far, to push one’s luck.
Literally: To pull the rope.

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


Where does Tirare la corda come from?

The rope or string this idiom talks about is that of a bow.

If you have ever tried to shoot an arrow (freccia) with an old, wooden bow, arco, you will know that you need a great deal of strength to pull the bowstring toward you. And if you pull it too hard, it may end up breaking!

a bow and an arrow

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Tirare la corda!


What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the idiom Tirare la corda 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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