If you need to make a decision and sort something out once and for all, this nice Italian idiom is perfect for you!

Tagliare la testa al toro” literally means “to cut off the head of the bull“: how is that related to decision making then?

The story behind this idiomatic expression is very useful to understand it better: the popular tale tells that one day a bull put his head in a jar and his owner couldn’t find a way to free the animal. As he didn’t want to break the jar, the owner asked an advice to a friend who suggested him to cut the bull’s head in order to save the jar.

That is why it is used when we need to settle things making a decision, no matter if drastic or painful.

Look at some examples!

Italian English
Tagliamo la testa al toro e paghiamo subito queste bollette! Let’s sort things out and pay these bills straight away!
Penso che sia arrivato il momento di tagliare la testa al toro! I think it’s time to settle things once and for all!
Non so se comprare tre o quattro camicie…tagliamo la testa al toro, le prendo tutte. I don’t know if I want to buy three or four shirts…let’s cut it short, I take all of them.


Do you know similar expressions in other languages?