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Italian expression of the day: ‘Non ci casco’

Here's one for our readers who are too savvy to be taken in.

Italian expression of the day non ci casco
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

If you’ve ever befriended a prankster, you learn to start questioning suspicious claims or invitations to improbable sounding events. Non ci casco, you say to yourself: I’m not falling for that.

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It’s from the prepositional verb cascarci, to fall for something. That’s not ‘fall for’ in a romantic sense – it means to get taken in by someone, to be hoodwinked.

Ci is a handy preposition that can stand in for words like ‘there’ and ‘it’, and in this context means ‘for it’. Cascare literally means ‘to fall’ (you might recognise it from the word cascata, which means waterfall) – so it’s one of those phrases that translates pretty cleanly into English.

Ci caschi ogni volta, amico mio.
You fall for it every time, my friend.

Tu sei l’ultima persona al mondo che pensavo potesse cascarci.
You’re the last person in the word I thought would fall for that.

Non ci cascare, è una trappola!
Don’t fall for it, it’s a trap!

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It’s a verb that takes essere rather than avere, so remember to use the right auxiliary verb and to agree with the sentence subject when using the phrase in the perfect tense.

Questo era il loro piano e voi due ci siete cascati.
This was their plan, and you two fell for it.

Cascare isn’t the only or even the most widely used Italian verb for ‘to fall’ – that would be cadere. Cascare comes from Tuscan dialect and is a bit more informal and expressive than cadere, and is more commonly used in metaphors and turns of phrase.

Both cadere and cascare, for example, can be used to mean ‘fall over’:

È cascato per le scale.
He fell on the stairs.

Sono caduta dalla bicicletta.
I fell off my bike.

But only cascare can mean to ‘fall for’ a trick.

One other verb that can be used to talk about falling for something is abboccare – to bite. When used in a literal sense it usually refers to fish ‘taking the bait’, and it means the same in a figurative sense when applied to humans.

Sembra che Laura abbia abboccato.
It looks as though Laura’s taken the bait.

Va bene, abbocco.
OK, I’ll bite.

Ora vediamo se abbocca.
Now let’s see if he takes the bait.

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Now you know these phrases, hopefully you can avoid getting taken in the next time you receive an offer that seems too good to be true – at least if it’s in Italian.

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

Member comments

  1. Ciao I like the expression ‘da noi’. I use it a lot Also, da voi Da loro Group words of the day!
    Ciao ciao Anita

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For members


Italian word of the day: ‘Delusione’

We hope this word doesn't disappoint.

Italian word of the day: 'Delusione'

Experiencing a delusione (deh-loo-zee-OH-neh) in Italian may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you need escorting to the psychiatrist’s chair.

That’s because while delusione may look and sound like its English cousin ‘delusion’, the word actually means something quite different: disappointment.

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The two nouns actually have the same root in the Latin dēlūsiō, meaning a deceiving or deluding, and delūdō, meaning to deceive, dupe, or mock.

But while the English ‘delusion’ has hewn close to the original Latin meaning over the centuries, delusione at some point branched off to its current, quite different, definition.

There’s not much in the way of information about exactly when and how that happened, but it’s clearly a short associative hop from feeling ‘deceived’ or ‘duped’ by things turning out differently to what you’d expected to feeling ‘disappointed’.

Che delusione.
How disappointing.

La festa era, purtroppo, una grande delusione.
The party unfortunately was a big disappointment.

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The adjective for ‘disappointed’ is deluso for a single masculine subject, changing to delusa/delusi/deluse if the subject being described is feminine singular/masculine plural/feminine plural.

Era delusa da come era venuta la torta.
She was disappointed with how the cake turned out.

Devo dire che siamo davvero delusi dal fatto che siamo stati trattati in questo modo.
I have to say that we’re very disappointed to have been treated this way.

A word you’ll often see used in combination with deluso/a/i/e is rimanere (ree-man-EH-reh): rimanere deluso.

You might correctly recognise rimanere as meaning ‘to remain’, and wonder why we’d use that word here – but rimanere also has an alternative meaning along the lines of ‘to become’, ‘to get’, or simply ‘to be’.

For example, you can rimanere incinta (get pregnant), or rimanere ferito (get hurt or wounded, for example in a car accident).

It’s also very often used with emotions, usually those experienced in the moment rather than long-term ones: you can rimanere sorpreso (be surprised), rimanere triste (be sad), rimanere scioccato (be shocked)… and rimanere deluso (be disappointed).

Sono rimasto molto deluso quando mi ha detto di aver abbandonato la scuola.
I was very disappointed when she told me she had dropped out of school.

Siamo rimasti delusi dalle condizioni della stanza d’albergo al nostro arrivo.
We were disappointed by the condition of the hotel room when we arrived.

With that, we wish you a weekend free of delusioni (disappointments)!

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