I love this Italian idiom, which is used to refer to a snobbish person.

Italians have a knack for going one step further with colorful metaphors to describe a person or a situation. And saying a person is stuck up in Italian is a prime example. Learn and use this one along with other important idioms. As I’ve said in previous posts, you can cause confusion if you attempt a literal English-to-Italian translation of an idiom. I encourage you to read my post Know Your Italian Idioms.

Aver la puzza sotto il naso = To have the stench under the nose.

For me, this takes having one’s nose in the air up another notch. That’s why I chose the featured photo. It conveys a visual of someone repulsed by another’s unworthiness or being in a situation that is beneath them.

Also, “puzza” is an Italian word that you’ll want to commit to memory. It’s used in everyday life when you come across something that stinks. In contrast, to say you like how something smells, you say it has a “buon profumo” (a good smell). Truffles, for example, are a regular topic that elicits the use of both. For me, it has a buon profumo, while a fair number of people are firmly in the puzza camp.

Be careful when, if, and how you use Italian idioms.

I caution Italian newbies that Italian expressions, used in the wrong situations (and with the wrong people), can blow up in your face. If you want to take “Aver la puzza sotto il naso” out for a spin, do it in a “light” situation with friends. And, usually, it’s best used when referring to a person who isn’t present.

You may often hear this expression being used by Italians to refer to “stranieri” (foreigners). There are a fair number of people who arrive here without a good sense of respect for the Italian language and culture. Don’t let yourself be on the receiving end of this being told you’re stuck up in Italian.