Do you want to learn a really funny Italian idiom?

If you have never heard the Italian idiomAvere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca“, it’s definitely time to learn it!

Italians love using these nice expressions and we are pretty sure you are quite fascinated by them: idioms reveal an important side of the local culture, so learning them is incredibly interesting.

Sometimes idiomatic expressions can describe a situation better than any other words.

In this case, the image depicted by this Italian idiom is very effective!

Literally, this idiom means “to have a full barrel and a drunk wife” and it is used when there is a trade-off and you can’t have both things at the same time.

When someone is not happy to accept a compromise because doesn’t want to give up anything, this is the perfect expression to use!

The English equivalent would be “to have your cake and eat it too”, which has exactly the same meaning.

Here you can have a look at how to use this Italian idiom.

Italian English
Marco vuole dimagrire continuando a mangiare tutto quello che gli piace. Vorrebbe avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca! Marco wants to lose weight keeping eating everything he likes. He would like to have his cake and eat it too.

Vorrei trasferirmi all’estero ma vorrei anche avere la mia famiglia vicina.

– Prendi una decisione, non puoi avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca!

-I would like to move abroad but also to have my family close to me.

– Make a decision, you can’t have both things at once!



Can you think of other situations where you might use it?

Try to make an example!

And if you enjoy Italian idiomatic expressions, have a look at some more here!