indossare il saio da penitente

comricky

Member
Italian
Ciao a tutti/good morning to everyone,

I'd like to find a translation of the italian expression "indossare/vestire il saio da penitente".
In italian, the meaning is "to publicly show repentance about something". The "literal" equivalen would be "to wear the penitent's sackcloth".
 
  • Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    "Eat crow" is another one that comes to mind. For a translation, though, beyond the 'cool' factor of a cool sounding idiom, we should perhaps clarify what exactly we are trying to say. You know, context..
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I hear “wearing a hair shirt” more often than a sackcloth to mean being very overt in saying you’ve made a terrible mistake. But wouldn’t eating crow/humble pie mean you’re being forced to admit you’re wrong or have made a big mistake rather than walk around proclaiming it?
     

    anglomania1

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I hear “wearing a hair shirt” more often than a sackcloth to mean being very overt in saying you’ve made a terrible mistake. But wouldn’t eating crow/humble pie mean you’re being forced to admit you’re wrong or have made a big mistake rather than walk around proclaiming it?
    Hi rrose17,
    I don't think it means you're forced to admit your mistake. You literally just admit it, hence " the humble" part, it wouldn't be humbling if your were forced to admit it. That's how I interpret it.
    See here

    Hope this helps, :)
    anglo
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I hear “wearing a hair shirt” more often than a sackcloth to mean being very overt in saying you’ve made a terrible mistake.

    Interesting: to me, anything to do with hair shirts means you're acting like a martyr, whereas "sackcloth and ashes" (the ashes being an integral part of the expression) is in reference to extravagant, public penitence.

    I kind of agree with you about "humble pie," though: even if the mistake-maker voluntarily admits their mistake without being forced to do so, anyone who says "he ate / had to eat humble pie," or even if you say about yourself "I ate / had to eat humble pie," the implication is that the admission was painful and humiliating. I can't imagine the expression being used about a genuinely humble person, at least not in CanE / AE.
     

    Odysseus54

    Mod huc mod illuc
    Italian - Marche
    A note for the non-native Italian speakers. "Indossare il saio da penitente" is not a common idiom or expression as one might assume after reading the OP.

    This is easy to verify. With "Vestire il saio da penitente" Google only returns one single result, this WR thread. The version with "indossare" gives us all of seven results, one of which is this discussion.

    By contrast, "eat crow" gives us 212 results, "eat humble pie" 172. (Unique results, those that you obtain by going to the last available page of results, which I think weeds out repetitions)

    Not being a fixed expression with a fixed connotation, the need for a clarifying context is obvious.

    Please, comricky, provide the context.
     

    comricky

    Member
    Italian
    A note for the non-native Italian speakers. "Indossare il saio da penitente" is not a common idiom or expression as one might assume after reading the OP.

    This is easy to verify. With "Vestire il saio da penitente" Google only returns one single result, this WR thread. The version with "indossare" gives us all of seven results, one of which is this discussion.

    By contrast, "eat crow" gives us 212 results, "eat humble pie" 172. (Unique results, those that you obtain by going to the last available page of results, which I think weeds out repetitions)

    Not being a fixed expression with a fixed connotation, the need for a clarifying context is obvious.

    Please, comricky, provide the context.
    Need to translate this sentence:

    "Dopo quello che gli hai fatto ti do un consiglio di moda: indossa un bel saio da penitente quando vai nel suo ufficio".
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    After what you did, if I may offer some fashion advice, wear a sackcloth and cover your head in ashes/wear a hair shirt when you go to the office.
    After what you did, a word of advice, pack yourself a nice lunch of humble pie when you go back to the office.
    I prefer the second one.
     

    comricky

    Member
    Italian
    After what you did, if I may offer some fashion advice, wear a sackcloth and cover your head in ashes/wear a hair shirt when you go to the office.
    After what you did, a word of advice, pack yourself a nice lunch of humble pie when you go back to the office.
    I prefer the second one.
    Both sentences are ok for my original intent. Thank you.

    Just one question: doesn't "wear a hair shirt" mean "to deliberately make your own life unpleasant or uncomfortable in a way that is not necessary"? It sounds like something "to overcomplicate your life". (source: Wear a hair shirt Definizione significato | Dizionario inglese Collins, the first hit when looking on google "wear a hair shirt).

     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I think the Italian sentence is an exaggeration, no? Likewise to wear a hair shirt like a monk in the middle ages is to demonstrate how repentant you are, how sincere you are in striving for purity. The sackcloth one is probably better but humble pie is the best, I think. And the joke would be easily understood.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    If you want to keep the play of words on di moda, surely it has to be 'wear sackcloth and ashes' ? Even if you take fashion in its wider sense, it's not easy to relate humble pie in any way to trendiness.
     
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