Top Language: Dont break them!

Top Language


The EASI NETWORK, our TEFL teaching Group, is connected via a private Facebook Group. One of the trainers, who will remain nameless, posted the following message about a week ago.

 Does anybody actually say ‘don’t break my balls’ in English or is it just a funny translation from Italian.  I’ve been here so long, I don’t know.  My production boys want to know :)))’

This was such an important question that a slew of replies soon followed:-)))

The expression means that you are bothering someone or that you are causing them trouble.

The Scottish and British trainers confirm that it is not a BE expression and one actually said that her relatives think she is a weirdo when she uses it.

The American, Canadian and Irish ladies confirm that it is commonly used in the States.

I figure it has to be an Italian expression that was adapted to American English post war or something like that.

Here are a few variations:

  • Don’t break my balls! (related to testicles)
  • Don’t bust my chops!
  • He is a ball buster.

Be careful when you use it because it does have a South-of-the-border allusion!

In Italian, one would say:

  • Non mi rompere le scatole/palle.
  • Non scocciare.


p.s. Apologies for the crude language above but it seemed like an interesting colloquial expression to share. I hope it has not offended anyone.



One thought on “Top Language: Dont break them!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s