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Beccare

Just as “get” in English serves many purposes, and has many shades of meaning, there are words in Italian that work in a similar way. One of these is beccare. It comes from becco (beak) and means “to peck,” but it’s used in colloquial speech to mean “to take,” “to catch,” or “to get.” It’s often used reflexively (for more on reflexives, see this lesson), and that’s how Manara uses it as he questions an uncooperative witness: 

Se non vuoi beccarti un'incriminazione per complicità in omicidio...

If you don't want to get yourself an indictment for complicity in murder...

Caption 20, Il Commissario Manara: Le Lettere Di Leopardi - Ep 4 - Part 11 of 17

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Here’s one more example from a Yabla video:

I fotografi! -C'hanno beccato!

The photographers! -They got us!

Caption 3, Trailer: Paparazzi

If you get caught doing something you shouldn’t, that’s when you say mi hanno beccato (they caught me)! You might use beccare if you get caught in the rain without an umbrella: mi sono beccato [or beccata] un raffreddore (I caught a cold), or if after dialing someone’s number many times, they finally answer: finalmente t’ho beccato (I finally got you)! 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

It's not always easy to know when using beccare would be appropriate, but by listening for it and repeating it to yourself when you hear it, little by little you'll find it on the tip of your tongue at just the right moment. More meanings and examples can be found here

Expressions

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