Why would "darla a intendere" mean "ingannare"? Dopo tutto se qualcuno fa intendere qualcosa a qualcuno ciò significa che glielo spiega o per lo meno glielo fa capire. Dunque come mai quest'espressione è andata ad indicare pressoché l'opposto?

  • @Josh61 below suggests that what is being portrayed by the speaker giving something "da intendere" is a different version of the truth, whereas Matte.Car suggests the speaker is simply providing a different albeit not totally different version of the facts. Which of these answers is more appropriate, accurate, and helpful (both seem to contribute a significant understanding). Jul 18, 2015 at 12:46
  • Anyways, truth carved out of words can be grayish. Not really sure about how much grayness would comprise an appropriate threshold for the triggering of the use of this expression by the listener. Advice appreciated, thanks. Jul 18, 2015 at 12:49
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    – I.M.
    Oct 24, 2015 at 9:13

2 Answers 2


It is an idiomatic expression whose meaning is not to be taken literally. I don't know its origin but its usage appears to be from the 18th century. Similar expression are 'dare ad intendere lucciole per lanterne' and 'darla a bere' as shown below.

Dare ad intendere è un'espressione idiomatica che significa indurre a credere, far credere ciò che non è. (Hoepli)

Far intendere o far capire sono espressioni solitamente usate col significato di “spiegare qualcosa a qualcuno”.

Non so quale sia l'origine di questa espressione che sembra essere in uso dal '700 secondo Ngram.

Esiste anche il modo di dire dare ad intendere lucciole per lanterne ossia: far intendere una cosa per l’altra, ingannare, far cadere in errore.

Un altro modo di dire analogo è: darla a bere a qualcuno, dare a intendere, far credere cosa non vera: non me la dai a bere.

  • 1
    Could you at least provide a brief summary of the answer in English as well? The question was partly made in English and in general it's good to have at least a brief summary of it in that language. I am taking an interpretation of this discussion in the meta: meta.italian.stackexchange.com/questions/1/…
    – funforums
    Jul 17, 2015 at 9:26
  • 1
    @funforums - could this help?
    – user519
    Jul 17, 2015 at 23:36

Solitamente con "darla a intendere" si intende "raccontare la propria versione" ma con alcune distorsioni (o magari omettendo volutamente certi particolari), in modo da cercare di alterare la reale versione in cui si è svolta la vicenda.

In questo caso il verbo intendere assume una connotazione più prossima a "raccontare".

  • I really like the first part of your answer. As to the second part / paragraph, I think since "intendere" is referred to the listener and not the speaker, I would say that "intendere" assumes the meaning of "credere" (not "raccontare"). Jul 18, 2015 at 12:54

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