Italian expressions related to "bocca" (mouth)

Level B2

Ciao a tutti!

With this post we continue to study Italian idioms related to body parts, in particular this time we will study those related with the mouth. Let's see some of them:

In bocca al lupo

Literally means “into the wolf’s mouth”.

The first expression of the list is also the most commonly used. We use it to wish good luck, for example before a difficult exam, an interview or a business meeting. Over the centuries it has assumed a superstitious meaning, when someone say “in bocca al lupo” you should to respond "crepi" (may the wolf die”).

In fact, this idiom refers to the figurative meaning of ending up in the wolf's mouth: which mean none other than you are "getting into trouble"!

Ex: In bocca al lupo per il nuovo lavoro!


Good luck with your new job!

Thank you!

Acqua in bocca

This expression is used when you want to ask kindly to not to tell others a secret.

Figuratively it is like holding water in your mouth, and, when your mouth is filled you obviously cannot speak to anyone.

Ex: Ieri non sono andato a scuola, acqua in bocca con i miei!

Yesterday i skipped school, don’t tell to my parents!

Rimanere a bocca asciutta

This expression show a feeling of regret, for example for something that has been lost by a person or could not be obtained for a reason (in particular after that someone tried hard to obtain it).

It recalls when you are thirsty,and, when going to get a glass of water to drink it, you find out there is no more and you can’t quench your thirst.

Ex: Volevo tanto comprare quella borsa, ma quando sono passata prima davanti al negozio non c’era più. Sono rimasta a bocca asciutta.

I really wanted to buy that bag, but when I went to the store it was already sold. I couldn’t get my hands on it.

Essere di bocca buona

This expression is used to say that someone likes to eat delicious food.

Abbiamo invitato i Signori Rossi a cena e hanno gradito tutto: sono persone di bocca buona!

We invited the Rossi family for dinner and they liked everything: they have a good appetite!

Rimanere con l’amaro in bocca

In italian “amaro” means bitter (it's a name also of a kind of alcohol), so "avere l’amaro in bocca" literally means feeling a bitter taste in the mouth.

This expression is used when expressing a feeling of regret when unable to do or obtain something or when unable to achieve a goal; it is similar to “rimanere con la bocca asciutta”, the difference is just that “restare con l’amaro in bocca” express more sadness and regret.

Ex: Nonostante avessi fatto due ore di fila per incontrare l'autore lui se ne è andato prima di finire le firme, sono rimasta con l'amaro in bocca.

Even if i have waited 2 hours in line to meet the author, he left before finishing the signing session, i really felt bad about it.

Rifarsi la bocca

Literally means “removing a bad taste from the palate by eating something good”; it is used not only with food but also when something good happen after a bad thing or after overcoming a difficult situation with one's own strength.

This expression includes also a sense of cheering up and a feel of accomplishment.

Ex: Nonostante il primo non fosse molto buono, ci siamo rifatti la bocca con il dolce

Although the first course was not very good, the dolce (dessert) was delicious.

Essere sulla bocca di tutti

This expression means something or someone, that, given its popularity, everyone is talking about it both in news and between people.

Ex: Hai già sentito cosa ha detto il primo ministro? Ma certo, è sulla bocca di tutti!

Have you heard what the prime minister said? Of course, Everybody's talking about it!

Here we are at the end of this short lesson, have you ever heard any of these expressions?

Feel free to write a comment of what you think about this topic if or if you have any questions, i am very curious about your it.

As always I leave you a short exercise for your practice.

Grazie, a presto!

Exercise: complete the sentences using the correct expressions:

1. Hai sentito che cosa ha detto Laura?

No perchè? che cosa ha detto?

Ma come, è già__________________ !

2. Domani ho l’ultimo esame di matematica, non so se riuscirò a passarlo dato che non ho studiato abbastanza.

Allora ____________________ !


3. Non sono riuscita ad andare a vedere l’albero di Natale di Gubbio, prima del 6 Gennaio. Sono rimasta ___________________ .

4. Ieri sera sei uscita con Giovanni?

Sì è stato molto gentile: mi ha portata in quel ristorante nuovo di cui parlano tutti. Abbiamo ordinato la carbonara, ma non era molto buona. Per fortuna ci siamo _______________ con il tiramisù!

5. Hai passato l’esame di grammatica italiana?


L’hai detto ai tuoi?

No non ancora, perciò _____________________!

6. Quando sono arrivato in cucina la crostata era già finita ed ora ho ___________.

7. Valentina è una bambina che mangia davvero tutto. E’ di _________________.

Solutions: 1) sulla bocca di tutti 2) in bocca al lupo 3) con l’amaro in bocca 4) rifatti la bocca 5) acqua in bocca 6) l’amaro in bocca 7) bocca buona

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