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?
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».
"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".
- Meno male che ho studiato altrimenti non avrei risposto alle domande.
- Meno male che ho portato l'ombrello altrimenti mi sarei bagnato.
- Fortunately, I have studied otherwise I would not have answered questions.
- Fortunately, I brought my umbrella otherwise I would have wet.
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.