How Italians keep secrets

Here how Italians translate "Mum's the word"

How Italians keep secrets

Claudia Astarita


It is always interesting to find out the history of popular idioms. The Australia-based Italian culture magazine Segmento is continuing offering its readers a chance to learn more about the use and the background of Italian popular words.

This month the magazine introduced the expression "acqua in bocca", which literally means "put water in your mouth". This is something Italian people are used to say when they want to make sure that whet they are sharing with another person, either a piece of news or something about themselves, remains a secret.

Segmento explains that the origins of this saying can be linked to the story of a woman who approached a priest asking him "to give her a remedy to stop talking badly of others. The priest gave her a bottle of water and told her to pour a few drops in her mouth any time she felt the need to talk badly about anyone."

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