What’s the meaning of “Un altro paio di maniche”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian idiom Un altro paio di maniche along with its pronunciation.

Let’s start! Iniziamo!

Un altro paio di maniche

Meaning of the idiom

Un altro paio di maniche can literally be translated as “another pair of sleeves”. Its meaning is is the same as the English expression a different kettle of fish, so it’s used as a synonym for “to be a completely different thing from the previous one”.

Linguistically, this idiom can be broken down into un altro, which means another, paio, which means pair, and maniche, which is the plural form of manica, sleeve.

woman trying on a pink sweater

Manica is also used in these collocations:

  • vestito a manica lunga / maniche lunghe (long-sleeved dress)
  • vestito a manica corta / maniche corte (short-sleeved dress)

For example, you could say…

Non ho nessun vestito a manica lunga da mettermi!
I don’t have any long-sleeved dress to wear!

Pronunciation of Un altro paio di maniche in Italian

Now let’s hear how this idiom is pronounced.

Un altro paio di maniche
A different kettle of fish

Questo problema è tutto un altro paio di maniche.
This problem is a whole other set of problems.

Where does Un altro paio di maniche come from?

In the Middle Ages, it was difficult to find clean water to wash clothes. Clothes were easily soiled by work. Women began to wear dresses with replacable sleeves. To “wash” the dress, they simply had to wear “another pair of sleeves”!

woman pinching her nose because of stinking clothes

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian idiom Un altro paio di maniche!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Un altro paio di maniche 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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