Sulla pelle di qualcuno
In Italian, idiomatic expressions are a challenge (as they are in most languages). One of the great things about language acquisition is that you can often learn a lot of great expressions through conversation and reading (two of the best ways to improve your vocabulary).
Today’s expression is sulla pelle di qualcuno, which means at one’s expense. Literally, it means “on one’s skin” or “one someone’s skin.”
I learned this expression when I was talking with my friend Daniele about vaccinations. We were talking about how we weren’t sure how long the vaccinations to prevent COVID-19 would last and how often we would need a booster. During the conversation, he said:
“Lo scopriranno sulla nostra pelle.”
What he meant was they’ll figure it out at our expense.
Sometimes you will see the expression used with the verb giocare to mean to put someone’s life at risk or to save one’s skin at the expense of someone else.