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Italian expression of the day: ‘Non ci piove’

There's no doubt you'll quickly get the hang of this phrase.

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

If an Italian tells you non ci piove (‘NON-chee-PYOH-veh’), it doesn’t mean they’re advising you to leave your umbrella at home.

Literally, this phrase means ‘it doesn’t rain’. But today’s expression in reality has nothing to do with rain, or the lack of it.

It’s an idiom that you use to emphasise you’re certain about something, meaning something along the lines of ‘There’s no doubt’/ ‘That’s for sure’/ ‘It goes without saying.’

Ti pago il taxi, non ci piove.
I’ll pay for your taxi, that goes without saying.

It’s sometimes preceded by a qui (here), as in, ‘here there’s no doubt’.

È molto meglio di com’era prima della ristrutturazione, qui non ci piove.
It’s much better than it was before the renovation, that’s for sure.

But is most often used with su (on) – ‘on this/this fact there’s no doubt’.

– Sto pensando di regalare a Leo un vecchio giradischi per il suo compleanno, credo che gli piacerebbe.
– Su questo non ci piove, ama ascoltare i dischi in vinile a casa mia.
– I’m thinking of giving Leo an old record player for his birthday, I think he’d like it.
– There’s no doubt he would, he loves listening to vinyl records at my house.

Sul fatto che ti hanno truffato non ci piove.
There’s no doubting the fact that they scammed you.

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What are the expression’s origins?

No one’s really sure, but some suggest it comes from the idea that your conviction is so solid that no rain could threaten to weaken it or wash it away – there’s ‘no shadow of a doubt’.

Reckon you can incorporate this simple phrase into you Italian vocabulary? We’re sure you can – non ci piove.

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

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Italian word of the day: ‘Pippone’

Allow us to engage in a little discourse on the meaning of this Italian word.

Italian word of the day: ‘Pippone’

Have you ever found yourself in the company of someone holding forth for many minutes at a time, wondering how you ended up in this situation and when you can make your exit?

Then you’ve experienced a pippone (pronunciation available here): a relentless and self-indulgent monologue from which listeners can’t easily escape.

The pippone-dispenser might be lecturing you because of something you’ve done, or just sounding off on a favourite subject. If they regularly try to corner you for this purpose, they might be an attaccabottoni.

The word originates from Roman dialect – more on its origins directly below – but is used and understood throughout Italy.

Preparatevi ad un bel pippone.
Get ready to be buttonholed.

Ce la fate a risparmiarmi il pippone sul non bere e fumare?
Could you spare me the lecture about not drinking and smoking?

A word of warning to new users: you’ll want to be careful about exactly how you deploy the term, as it comes from the word pippa, i.e. the act of male masturbation.

Adding ‘-one’ (OH-neh) on to the end of a noun makes it a bigger version of itself (see nasone), so you can get a pretty good idea of the broader connotations of pippone.

The Italian language site Italiano Semplice points out that if you want to talk about someone launching into a speech, you should use the phrase attaccare un pippone rather than iniziare un pippone.

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That’s because while the former clearly refers to someone giving a speech, the latter could be mistaken for something more vulgar.

Mi ha attaccato un pippone allucinante.
He gave me such a horrendous lecture.

So che ti sto attaccando un pippone, ma ti volevo dare quante più informazioni possibili.
I know I’m giving you a bit of a speech, but I wanted to provide as much information as possible.

Note that this is the formulation you’ll to use when talking about delivering a pippone; the verb pippare refers neither to speechifying nor self-pleasure, but the act of snorting drugs like cocaine.

That’s enough of a pippone for one day.

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