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Tregua: A Wartime Noun in Peacetime

The original meaning of the noun tregua has to do with a “truce,” a “cease-fire” in battle. It can certainly be used with this same meaning to take a break in an argument, but in casual conversation, it is often used to mean a “let-up,” a “temporary break,” to reduce the pressure, and in this sense, it’s generally used without an article and often with the verb dare (to give): dare tregua (to let up, to give someone or something a break). 

Ma no, niente, c'è qui un bastardo arrapato che non mi sta dando tregua.

But no, nothing, there's a horny bastard here who's not letting up.

Caption 84, Stai lontana da me - Rai Cinema - Part 8

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When someone is “on your case” or “on your back” about something, then you might say,

Dammi un po’ di tregua!
Give me a break, will you?


We can use it in talking about the weather.

Piove senza tregua.
It’s been raining relentlessly.

C'è maltempo senza tregua.
There's no let-up in the bad weather.


Someone's headache finally goes away (and may or may not come back) and they get a bit of relief.

Gli ha dato un po’ di tregua.
It left him in peace for a bit.


Episode 3 of La Ladra begins with a war-like situation. We can only hope that Eva will be able to help the couple that has gotten involved with some very bad people who are not about to go away.

They know the loan shark they are involved with will not let up, will not cut them any slack, will not give them any sort of break. 

Quello non ci darà tregua.

He won't cut us any slack.

Caption 75, La Ladra - Ep. 3 - L'oro dello squalo - Part 1

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You don't need dramatic situations such as the ones in La Ladra to use tregua, so have fun weaving dare tregua into your Italian practice conversations. It’s handy in both positive and negative terms.


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