Word of the Day

Salve (sahl-vai), is  a strange Italian word indeed.  It is a Latin word — no, it “does not come from” Latin, it actually is Latin! — whose use is attested in Italian in  all epochs. The linguists among you  may …

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Cavolo! (cah-voh-loh) is one of those words you often don’t know whether you can or cannot say in public. When you were a child, your mom likely disapproved of you  using it, while, as an adult, you understand it comes …

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Cioè (tcho-eh) is one of Italy’s most common intercalari, those words we like to throw here and there while we talk, but hey! It has a real meaning,  too.  Cioè is the  contraction of two  words, ciò, this/that, and è, …

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Aspetta! What do you really know about the word aspetta? Well, we certainly know that aspetta (ah-speht-tah) comes from a mix of two Latin words, expectare, which means to wait (the same meaning of aspetta in Italian) and aspectare or …

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The Fall is, without a doubt, the favorite season for a pantofolaio (pahn-toh-foh-lah-ee-oh), because they can do what they prefer, without being judged by society: staying in, coffee in hand, eating cookies and watching tv.  The word comes from pantofola, …

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If they tell you sei un fannullone (pronounced fahn-nool-loh-neh) you should either reconsider the people you hang  with or your work ethics.  While fannullone may sound pretty funny, with  all those double  consonants and the –one ending — doesn’t it …

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“That’s crazy!” is probably one of the best translations you can get for our roba da matti (roh-bah dah maht-tee), but you can also use “unbelievable!,” “that’s unbelievable!” and, sometimes, even “I can’t believe it!”. Literally, it means “stuff for the loonies” and it’s quite usually uttered with an incredibly surprised …

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Me ne frego (meh neh freh-goh) is a popular expression in Italian, that can be translated in English  with  “I  don’t care” but  also with the more incisive “I don’t give a damn.”  Etymologically, it comes from the verb fregare, …

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Literally, come no (co-mai noh) means nothing. No, seriously: “like no.” That’s the literal meaning of the words. But in practice, it’s one common locution indeed, and also quite a refined one at that, because it can mean something, or …

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The expression essere stufo (ehs-eh-rai stoo-foh) comes from the Italian verb stufare, and began to be used with the meaning we are familiar with today sometime in the 16th century, even though it was spelled with  two “f,”, stuffo. Essere …

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