Tutti i nodi vengono al pettine

Main piece:

“Tutti i nodi vengono al pettine”


Tutti: All

i nodi: knots

vengono: come

al pettine: to the comb

Translation: All the knots come to the comb, meaning that the truth will always come out in the end and that all the bad actions or lies one commits or tells will eventually be unmasked and punished.


My informant is a 57 years old woman, born in Bologna from Italian parents. She has been told this words since she was a child and they made up much of her upbringing and education, which both had a particular emphasis on the importance of caring for the other and treating him or her as “you would treat yourself”.


My informant -my mother- has always repeated these words to me since I was really young, and when I asked her if she had some proverbs she wanted to tell me for tis collection project, she immediately brought this one up. We were having breakfast in the informant’s house.


This proverb wants to be both a teaching and a warning, a philosophical approach to the evil received and, at the same time, an educational indication that should be respected.

On on side, indeed, the proverb serves as a sort of eschatological or, better, karmic ‘prophecy’ for actions committed. I often received this proverb as a reassurance when lamenting for injustices or wrongdoings received, so as to say that those who act badly or give negative energies to others will, in the end, receive their share of punishment. 

On the other hand, this saying also serves as an advice, which basically invites you to always think twice before doing something, especially if this something involves other people as well. 

Even if my general interpretation and understanding of this proverb was mostly related to what I have just explained, as my informant pointed out, the proverb can also be interpreted with a meaning related to truth: no matter how many lies are told or how many obstacle will be placed in its course, truth will always find its way to be revealed. 

I believe this proverb to be quite representative of Italian values and principles, which have been, in time, greatly influenced by Catholicism and Christian doctrine. As a matter of fact, this proverb encompasses both the care one should have towards the other and, simultaneously, the conception of Final Judgment, which are two of the main pillars of the Roman Church.