Italians are famous for gesturing a lot while talking. Sometimes they do it to emphasize what they’re saying, sometimes, instead, gesturing hasn’t a meaning, but it just shows Italians’ nature.
Since gesturing is second nature for Italians, it’s no surprising that also in Italian language there are many idiomatic expressions related to hands.
Let’s see some of them.
1. STARE/STARSENE CON LE MANI IN MANO
Stare con le mani in mano or starsene con le mani in mano are two Italian idiomatic expressions related to hands that literally mean to be with your hands in your hand.
The real meaning of this Italian expression, instead, is to do nothing, to sit on your hands.
Ex: Non startene lì con le mani in mano, vieni ad aiutarmi!
Don’t sit on your hands/Don’t stand there, come and help me!
2. COGLIERE QUALCUNO CON LE MANI NEL SACCO
The second Italian expression related to hands is cogliere qualcuno con le mani nel sacco, literally to catch someone with his hands in the sack.
The real meaning of this Italian expression can be easily guessed and has a very similar English equivalent: to catch someone with his hands in the cookie jar.
Ex: Tre ladri hanno cercato di rapinare un bar ma I poliziotti li hanno colti con le mani nel sacco
Three thieves tried to rob a café but the police caught them red-handed
3. AVERE LE MANI BUCATE
You can easily guess the meaning of the Italian idiomatic expression avere le mani bucate reading its literal translation: to have hands with holes.
Someone who ha le mani bucate always spends a lot of money, did you remember the book I love shopping? Well the main character aveva le mani bucate!
Ex: Mia moglie ha le mani bucate. Spende tutto quello che guadagna nel giro di due settimane
My wife is a spendthrift. She spends everything she earns in two weeks
4. DARE UNA MANO
The Italian idiomatic expression dare una mano is widely used in Italy. Dare una mano, literally giving someone a hand, means to help someone.
Ex: Dammi una mano a spostare questi scatoloni
Give me a hand to move these boxes
5. METTERCI LA MANO SUL FUOCO
Metterci la mano sul fuoco literally means to put one’s hand on the fire. This expression is used when someone is absolutely sure about something.
Ex: E’ stata lei a tradirci. Ci metterei la mano sul fuoco
She was the one who betrayed us. I’d stake my life on it
Did you already know these five Italian idiomatic expressions related to hands? Which is your favourite?
Original image by sasint