Is there an Italian idiomatic expression for "I've forgotten more than you'll ever know"?

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    If you ask for something similar in Italian you should probably explain what's the meaning of the English expression. In Inglese di solito la frase è usata da un anziano verso una persona giovane che non gli dà retta per indicare che lui ha più esperienza. Da che so di per sé non è inteso come un insulto ma alcuni lo prendono come tale e c'è chi usa la frase come per dare dell'ignorante. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:21
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    @ErikvanDoren Beh io l'ho interpretata come un modo per sminuire l'interlocutore affermando la propria superiorità nell'argomento (in modo un po' offensivo)... Del tipo un professore dice a uno studente "I've forgotten more about math than you'll ever know".
    – Ant
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:24
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    @ Ant, si come detto c'è chi lo usa anche in quel modo, non è sempre così, ma una volta spiegato altri hanno indicazioni per suggerire un corrispondente Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:26
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    Is it an actual idiom? Or a quotation from some literary text, song or other? The oldest I could find is a 1953 song. Does the phrase predate the song? (Questions for ELU, if anything, I know.)
    – DaG
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 14:39
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    @DaG, apparently it is an actual idiom used as title of the song... some of the earliest places where I just found it are the 1811 "The Philadelphia Repertory" and the 1822 "The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal" Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 15:22

4 Answers 4


An idiom I've heard occasionally is "Ne devi mangiare, di pastasciutta...", implying that the listener hasn't eaten enough pasta (which is the same as to say that they are young) to be as knowledgeable as the speaker.

  • this is actually good! Thanks I think I'll go with that
    – Ant
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 15:19

I'd say "Sapessi quante ne ho passate" or a more idiomatic "Ne ho passate di cotte e di crude" - lit. - "I went through cooked and raw ones (all range of situations)". Hope this helps. Ciao.


No, or at least not exactly.

You can have literal translations that suit the meaning such as "Ho scordato più di quanto tu potrai mai imparare", but no strictly idiomatic way.

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    @Ant It is to be noted that the sentence itself is not an idiomatic construct of English (to me it sounds quite literal?), so I'm unsure why you'd expect one in Italian. Maybe if you explain the reason behind the question we can help you find a better answer. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 9:52
  • You are right, it is literal, but I think in english it's part of some body of "commonly known" phrases, it does not seems weird (see the comments above for origin of the phrase) On the other hand if I say that in italian it will feel weird to a certain degree. In any case it seems the best I can hope for.. Thanks :-)
    – Ant
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:42

My answer doesn't really fit, however if you say: "ne ho ingoiati di rospi", it would be about the same kind of thing that you try to say.
Maybe somebody will come with a better answer.

  • Could you please explain the exact meaning of this Italian idiom?
    – Charo
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 17:46
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    I'm not sure whether ingoiare rospi has the slightest connection with the idiom in the question.
    – egreg
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 18:50
  • Yes, please do! I am sure my translation of it is a laugh, too, but it certainly sounds very evocative. It made me laugh. I think... "I have never yet swallowed toads?"
    – Msfolly
    Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 18:54
  • @Msfolly, wide of the mark, keep trying it will help your Italian learning ;) hopefully you will get to it before maxadamo replies... Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 19:45
  • @Msfolly, and what I meant is just that if he replies he'd spoil the fun for you. Commented Feb 9, 2016 at 23:40

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