Strappare (to tear, to yank, to rip) is an interesting Italian verb, with a useful, related noun uno strappo (the act of ripping up) that goes hand in hand with it.
Sembrerebbe un tuo capello.
It seems like one of your hairs.
Va be', dai, strappami il capello, forza. Strappa 'sto capello.
OK, come on, pull out a hair, come on. Yank this strand out.
Come on, ow!
Captions 37-40, Il Commissario Manara - S2EP3 - Delitto tra le lenzuolaPlay Caption
The previous example is literal and you can easily visualize the act. The following example could be literal, but not necessarily. It describes a somewhat violent act, but this grandfather might be speaking figuratively.
Insomma, mi hanno strappato via la mia nipotina dalle braccia.
In short, they tore my little granddaughter from my arms.
Caption 84, Un medico in famiglia - S1 EP1 - Casa nuovaPlay Caption
Even when we're talking about hair, strappare can be used figuratively.
Guarda, mi strappo i capelli da, proprio...
Look, I'm really tearing my hair out from, right...
Caption 24, L'Eredità -Quiz TV - La sfida dei sei. Puntata 1Play Caption
In this week's segment of La Ladra, there is a wonderful Italian expression with the noun strappo.
Ma sono vegetariano.
But I am a vegetarian.
Ma non fai mai uno strappo alla regola?
But don't you ever make an exception to the rule?
E... allora potresti venire nel mio ristorante, naturalmente saresti mio ospite.
And... so you could come to my restaurant, you'll be my guest, naturally.
Captions 61-64, La Ladra - EP. 8 - Il momento giustoPlay Caption
Did you hear the percussive T, the well-articulated R, and the double, percussive P? It's a fun word to say. Remember that in Italian a double P sounds different from a single P. To hear the difference, go back to the examples about hair. There's a double P in strappare, or strappo, but there is a single P in capello or capelli. Tricky!
Strappare (to tear, to rip, to yank) is very close to rompere (to break) or even spezzare (to break, to snap, to split). So fare uno strappo alle regole, means "to break a rule," "to make an exception."
Another expression with the same noun — strappo — is dare uno strappo (to give [someone] a lift).
Ti do uno strappo a casa?
Shall I give you a lift home?Play Caption
The more conventional word would be un passaggio. Read more about passaggio here.
Here are some situations in which you might want to use the verb strappare or the noun strappo:
You want someone to tear off a page from their notebook or pad. Mi strappi una pagina? (Would you tear off a page for me?)
You want someone to give you a lift home. Mi dai uno strappo? (Will you give me a lift?)
You hardly ever eat ice cream, but today, you'll make an exception. Faccio uno strappo alla regola. Mangerò un gelato! (I'll make an exception. I'm going to have ice cream!)
You are very frustrated with listening to someone complain. Quando comincia con certi discorsi mi viene voglia di strapparmi i capelli. (When he/she starts up with that story, I get the urge to tear my hair out.)
Try fitting in these new words to your Italian practice. Send in your suggestions and we'll correct them or comment on them.