Italian expressions - In vino veritas

26 March 2017
door Regina Coeli

Drinking good wine, within limits of course, is so much part of Italian culture that the language is peppered with sayings and expressions to do with wine. Here are five of them:

Chi beve solo crepa solo.
He who drinks alone, dies alone.

Dire pane al pane e vino al vino.
Literally = Call bread bread and wine wine (in English: to call a spade a spade). Figuratively = to call something by its right name; to speak frankly about something, even if it is unpleasant.

Volere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca.
Literally = to want a full barrel and a drunken woman. Figuratively = to want too much; to want everything at the same time.

Non chiedere all’ oste se ha vino buono.
Literally = Don’t ask the innkeeper if his wine is good. Figuratively = Don’t ask a question to which the answer is obvious.

Vino rosso fa buon sangue.
Literally = Red wine makes good blood. Figuratively = Red wine is good for your health.

And if someone has had one drink too many and starts talking nonsense, others will certainly take advantage of the situation. After all, people who have drunk too much always tell the truth and have to suffer the consequences! The well-known saying ‘in vino veritas’ (= in wine there is truth) goes right back to Roman Times!

However, there is one consolation: in Italy it is simply not possible to drink too much otherwise there would be an Italian equivalent for the English word ‘hangover’, and there isn’t!


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