Italian Idiomatic Expressions: Salt & Pepper


I love Italian idiomatic expressions – those sayings you just can’t translate directly but which make the Italian language the colorful and charming language it is.

Today’s saying from Italy is actually two sayings, but the two spices involved are inseparable on the dinner table, so why split them up here? I’m talking, of course, about salt and pepper.

First, the salt-related saying:

Ha molto sale in zucca.

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This would literally translate to “He (or she) has a lot of salt in his (or her) pumpkin.” Yes, salt in the pumpkin. When I first saw that I assumed “zucca” would be standing in for “brain” (as “gourd” does for us) and that it would be a bad thing, like that he/she wasn’t very smart. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The saying above actually means “He (or she) has a lot of good sense.”

Now for pepper:

È tutto pepe!

Literally, that means “He (or she) is all pepper.” This one’s a bit easier to get the gist of, seeing as how pepper has a kick the world over – the saying means “He (or she) is full of life.”

I’ll keep sharing Italian idiomatic expressions with you periodically; and if you’ve got a favorite saying, let me know!

If you like this one, check out some of the other Italian idiomatic expressions I’ve posted about, too.

Photo by: Creusaz