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Italian expression of the day: ‘Avere le mani in pasta’

Jessica Lionnel
Jessica Lionnel - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: ‘Avere le mani in pasta’
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

We think you're really going to knead this phrase...


Having your hands in pasta may sound like a dream come true. However the pasta in this Italian expression is used to mean dough (which sounds less dreamy, and more of a nuisance).

The expression avere le mani in pasta, which is used in many regions of Italy, could be literally translated into English as having your 'hands in the dough'.

It expresses a negative concept in the sense of someone being involved in scandals, or dishonest - perhaps sticky - situations.

Think of it as a more pessimistic version of the English expression ‘to have a finger in every pie.’

Sa tutto di tutti e comincio a pensare che abbia le mani in pasta.

She knows everything about everyone and I’m starting to think she has her finger in many pies.

Sembri avere le mani in pasta ovunque, caro.

You seem like you have fingers in many pies, dear.

Next time you want to describe someone suspect, use this phrase - but make sure you do so out of their earshot.


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