One of our readers freshly asked united state what the expression mangia mangia method in Italian. Prior to we obtain down to the nitty-gritty, let’s take a quick look in ~ what mangia means on that own, and also how Italians usage this native to create various idiomatic expressions.

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/mà·gna mà·gna/ – /màn·gia màn·gia/
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What go “mangia” mean in Italian?

Mangia is the third-person singular present of the verb mangiare (to eat). Merely put, this way it is provided with the pronouns lui (he), lei (she), Lei (you formal) or any type of other living thing such together a cane (dog) or gatto (cat) for example.

However, mangia is additionally the second-person singular imperative, which way it is used to give commands to one more person. The many literal translation would be Eat! however it is closer in definition to the familiar expression Eat up!

Dai su, mangia la pasta adesso! Altrimenti si raffredda!

Come on, eat the pasta now. Otherwise the will get cold!


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Mangia! = Eat up!

Compound words through ‘mangia-‘

The verb mangiare plays a an extremely important function in the Italian language, to together an level that it is frequently used figuratively. For example, you can integrate the prefix mangia- with one more noun to create compound indigenous that have actually various idiomatic meanings.

These words are supplied in colloquial Italian, as well as in journalistic jargon, to define positive or negative habits, or describe a person’s specific characteristic. Some are offered in a feeling way, others can be a criticism.

Because there are so countless examples, I’ll just cite a couple of them:

mangiasoldi (lit: money-eater): someone who is well-paid at your job however doesn’t do much to earn it, or other that makes you invest a many money, regularly via illegal methodsmangiapreti (lit: priest-eater): someone who is strongly against the clergymangiabambini (lit: children-eater): a human who appears grouchy and harsh but in fact is kind and sensitivemangiachilometri (lit: kilometre-eater): someone that likes running, cycling or driving long ranges on a constant basis, or a bike, car, or truck that one cd driver long ranges on a regular basis

Quel ciclista è un mangiachilometri. È capace di pedalare every lunghissimi tratti senza fermarsi.

That cyclist is unstoppable. He is qualified of speak for an extremely long stretches without stopping.

Other words following the very same structure are offered to recognize an object. Because that example, a mangianastri (lit: tape-eater) or mangiacassette is a cassette player.

What’s more, particular expressions are provided to nickname foreigners from specific countries. Germans room mangiapatate (potato-eaters), conversely, French space mangiarane (frog-eaters). Comparable idioms exist within Italian regions, and also there is likewise one for Italians in general: mangiaspaghetti (spaghetti-eaters).


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Inserisce una cassetta nel mangianastri. = She puts a ice cream in the cassette player.

So what go “mangia mangia” mean?

Mangia mangia, or mangiamangia created as one word, complies with the same principle together the compound words described previously. Although it deserve to literally average Eat up, eat up!, it is also used to describe a case where there is consistent corruption and illegal profit, especially within the politics sphere. Back English has a selection of words and also idioms that room potentially an excellent translation candidates, there isn’t one that exactly conveys the an interpretation of mangia mangia.

Note: there is additionally the version magna magna which comes from the verb magnare (/maɲˈɲa.re/), the Roman dialect version of mangiare.

È inutile partecipare a quella gara d’appalto. Hanno già deciso chi vincerà. È tutto un magna magna!

It’s useless to participate in the tender procedure. They’ve already decided that will win. It’s a scam!

All’interno del governo c’era un mangia mangia generale.

Within the government, corruption was rampant.

Johnny Stecchino – “Qui è tutto un magna magna!”

A standard Italian comedy in i beg your pardon you have the right to hear the expression magna magna is Johnny Stecchino, which to be directed by and also stars the hilarious Roberto Benigni. It adheres to the life the Dante, a school bus driver that bears one uncanny same to an Italian mafioso called Johnny Stecchino that is want by Sicilian mobsters.

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In the complying with scene, Dante, that is in ~ the police station, grabs the half-eaten banana in the Colonel’s hand and also says:

Questa qui me la prendo io perché qui è tutto un magna magna!

I’ll take it this because this location is steeped in corruption!

Obviously the definition here is twofold: magna magna is a nod to both the banana-eating and also what Dante feels is rampant corruption at the police station.