Have you heard of the idiom “Non avere peli sulla lingua” while learning Italian in London? Do you know what it means?

The literal translation is: “Not to have hairs on your tongue”.

If you’re just starting out in Italian, you may be very confused when hearing this phrase! What does it mean to have hairs on your tongue?

The English equivalent is: “Not to mince one’s words”

This means to be straightforward and get to the point. It is often said when someone is trying to get their point across but are being very careful about what to say because they do not want to cause any offence. You would then tell this person not to mince their words. Or, now you can say “Non avere peli sulla lingua!”

Alternatively, it could be used to describe someone who is very outspoken. Some of these types of phrases can get quite confusing when their true meaning is nothing like the literal translation. But when learning Italian in London with Happy Languages, we help you speak like a local! You will be learning lots more phrases like this.

Have any Italian-speaking friends? Why not use this phrase on them and impress them!

Take a look at some of these examples where “Non avere peli sulla lingua” is used.

Italian English
Laura non ha peli sulla lingua: dice sempre quello che pensa. Laura doesn’t mince her words: she always says what she has in mind.
Tutti dicono che sono molto sincero. Non ho peli sulla lingua. Everybody says that I am very straightforward. I don’t mince my words.
Come sto con questo vestito? Non devi avere peli sulla lingua! How do I look with this dress? Don’t mince your words!


Any other example to use this idiom?