Italian expression of the day: ‘Mettere nel sacco’

Italian expression of the day: 'Mettere nel sacco'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Get in the sack.

Have you ever had a nemesis, rival, bitter opponent or sworn enemy, or someone who just rubbed you up the wrong way?

A person you’d like to outsmart, outwit, and generally confound?
 
Perhaps you’ve even dreamed of doing so in the manner of a cartoon hero (or villain).
 
In Italian, you can live out your fantasy and “put (them) in the sack” – metterlo nel sacco.
 
Costume Quest Wtf GIF by Cartoon Hangover 

This pleasingly Tom and Jerry-esque metaphor is as simple as it sounds – you best your opponent by inserting them into a sack, incapacitating them in the process.

You are out of the sack, free to carry on about your business, while they are trapped in the sack, stymied at every turn.

Ah ha! Pensavate veramente di poter mettermi nel sacco?!
Ah ha! Did you really think you could get one over on me?!

Questa volta ti ho messo nel sacco, Batman.
This time I’ve outsmarted you, Batman.

While it is enjoyable to imagine doing this to your adversary, we feel compelled to warn that a lifetime of cartoon and Disney-watching indicates that things do not always work out to the sack-wielder’s satisfaction.

Geppetto's sack used in the Aristocats. In this sack Duche… | Flickr
Cases in point

Conversely, if you yourself have recently been messo nel sacco and are reading this from inside your dank and musty burlap prison, rest assured that animated movie history suggests you’re likely to win out in the end.

the aristocats GIF by Maudit

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.