Italian idiomatic expressions are usually a far cry from their English equivalents.
And how to express “Take it or leave it” in Italian is a prime example. Also, it helps demonstrate that everything does not have English as a foundation. Read my post about Quid Pro Quo to understand how the English misinterpreted a Latin expression. While English is probably the most universal language, I urge people (myself included) to not be lazy and neglect learning important Italian colloquial expressions.
“O mangiar questa minestra, o saltar dalla finestra!” (Either eat this soup or jump out the window).
I love this expression. I love how the ultimatum is so drastic and such a contrast. “Take it or leave it” doesn’t quite have the same oomph—to me at least. Bravi to the Italians for how colorfully and imaginatively they communicate.
For me, I’d have to hate minestrone pretty badly to head for the window.
And this is where I get the biggest chuckle. Maybe kids in Italian grew to abhor minestrone, much as I hate American vegetable soup (cooked, mushy carrots? Gag!). But the expression has been part of Italian phraseology for a long time. So, in order to fit in and be part of the culture, I’d better take it or leave it! And it does work, doesn’t it? I’ve yet to take it out for a spin and if I do I will be sure to do it with friends and loved ones and not strangers. Otherwise, I might find myself on the receiving end of a slap or a hard fist!