What do Italians mean with “restare a bocca asciutta“?

Restare a bocca asciutta” is a nice Italian idiomatic expression that you can hear while you speak with Italian natives.

The meaning is not straight forward, so you might need to work on it a little bit: as often happens, idioms might be unclear until you find the right way to interpret it!

Once again, idioms are really effective when we want to express a feeling or a situation in a meaningful way: this is why is learning them is so important, also to be able to understand natives when they use these kind of expressions.

Saying the same thing with other words wouldn’t be the same!

Let’s see the real meaning of this idiom!

In Italian we use it when we expect to have something but we don’t get what we want, so we are let down, disappointed.

A similar expression in English would be “to be left high and dry”.

Have a look at the examples!

Italian English
Il candidato pensava di essere letto, ma è rimasto a bocca asciutta. The candidate thought to be elected but he was left high and dry.
Luca era sicuro che l’azienda gli avrebbe rinnovato il contratto, invece è rimasto a bocca asciutta. Luca was sure that the company would renew his contract but he was left high and dry.
Lavinia è rimasta a bocca asciutta: ha aspettato la consegna per tutto il giorno ma il corriere ha avuto un problema e l’ha rimandata al giorno dopo. Lavinia was left high and dry: she waited for the delivery all day but the courier had a problem and rescheduled it for the day after.


Do you have any similar experience to describe? Try to write one or more examples using this lovely idiom!

If you are mad about idioms and want to learn more, have a look at our dedicated Pinterest board or go through our useful online resources!