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I'm learning to speak Italian (along with my wife and 2 year old), and so we were watching Peppa Pig the other day. We heard a phrase used that seemed like a response to “mi dispiace”, and we think it was “meno male.” Is this roughly the equivalent to the English "no problem"/"no worries" after someone apologizes? If not, what would be a phrase for this meaning?

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To set somebody's mind at rest when they say «Mi dispiace», you might want to say «Non ti preoccupare», «Non fa niente», «Figurati». In some situations one could say – to look for something similar to meno male – «Poco male», as in «No (too much) harm done».

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"meno male" is not the equivalent of "no problem" / "no worries".

This phrase is used when you want to explain that you have prevented a possible situation.

An Italian synonym of "Meno male" is "Per fortuna".

Examples:

(ITA)

  • Meno male che ho studiato altrimenti non avrei risposto alle domande.
  • Meno male che ho portato l'ombrello altrimenti mi sarei bagnato.

(ENG)

  • Fortunately, I have studied otherwise I would not have answered questions.
  • Fortunately, I brought my umbrella otherwise I would have wet.
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Another sense to add:

"meno male" has the same sense of the retort in English "coulda been worse", as in, this is "meno male" (less bad) than it could have been.

  • 1
    Welcome to Italian.SE! – Charo Apr 2 at 11:48

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