Idioms are very important elements of every language. When Italian people talk, they really like using these expressions, for showing wisdom or also for joking.

The topics of these expressions can be very different. Can you imagine numbers playing a very important role too? Here there are some examples of Italian expressions with numbers. Let’s see how many of them you know.

“In quattro e quattr’otto” – literally is “in four and four eight”, but actually this is not a sum and it has nothing to do with maths. Its meaning is “quickly” and more or less it corresponds to the English phrase “in less than no time”. So, for instance, the sentence “Ha trovato lavoro immediatamente” can be changed in “Ha trovato lavoro in quattro e quattr’otto” (He found a job in less than no time).
Why this expression means that something happens very quickly? Actually, there’s no special meaning behind this sentence. Its popularity is probably due to the fast rhythm of its pronunciation and to its catchy sound.

“Non c’è due senza tre” – (literally “there’s no two without three”). The meaning of this idiom is that if something happens twice, probably it will happen again. It can be used in different situations. In an unlucky day, you’re late, you’ve lost the keys of your car, there’s no bus in the nearby, the boss fires you: “Ehi, non c’è due senza tre”. But then, also in a lucky day a lot of nice events can happen and in that case your wish is that they will keep happening. The origin of this idiom? Probably the importance of number three in our culture: it is the perfect number!

“Fatto trenta, facciamo trentuno” – (literally “done thirty, let’s do thirtyone”). It means that after a great effort done to complete a work, with a little sacrifice it’s possible to reach even higher levels and solve sudden problems. This sentence is a quotation of Pope Leone X. In 1517 he had to elect thirty new cardinals, but finally he decided to elect also another one, in order to make his work perfect.

“Prendere due piccioni con una fava” – (literally “to catch two pigeons with one fava bean”). Corresponding to the English “to kill two birds with one stone”, this idiom is used to highlight the ability of so smeone who succeeds in achieving two good results at the same time.

These are just some examples of expressions with numbers in Italian. What about your native language? Do you have idioms like these?

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