Word of the Day

Intanto (een-tahn-toh), il nuovo anno è incominciato. This little sentence is perfect to explain how our word of the day works. Let’s see why.  You can translate the sentence above in two different ways, based on the meaning you decide …

By Staff

Today’s word is wonderful, because just saying it cheers you up. Buffo (boof-foh) means funny or silly, in a nice, good-hearted way. Something is “buffo” when it makes you smile because of its awkwardness, clumsiness or because it’s just curious, …

By Staff

Happy Epifania to you all! While the rest of the world says goodbye to the holiday season on the 1st of January, Italy likes to hold on to the festive atmosphere a few days longer, officially bringing the Christmas period …

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I think I must use the word parecchio (pah-rai-keeoh) at least a dozen times every day and, like me, every Italian does. Parecchio means “a lot,” “in large quantity,” “very” and can be used in all contexts you can think …

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Pazienza(pah-tsee-ehn-tsah) comes from the Latin patire, to endure, and from the Greek paskein, to feel or endure something. It has the same root of another common Italian word, paziente, which means “to be patient,” but also indicates people suffering from …

By Staff

After this necessary preamble, let us look at this week’s word, the Italian for New Year, more closely. For those familiar with the language, its etymology is clear: Capodanno comes from capo d’anno, the literal “head of the (new) year.” …

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Italians often use the word mannaggia (mahn-nadj-dja) instead of others they think more offensive. It usually expresses annoyance or spite and can sometimes come in association with other words to create colorful sayings, such as mannaggia la miseria!, which we …

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Mozzafiato (moh-tsa-feeah-toh) means “breathtaking,” but it’s a bit more gory. While, in English, something that surprises or emotions you “takes your breath away,” in Italian it cuts it off your lungs. Because that’s what mozzafiato literally means! The verb mozzare, …

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Sfogliatella (sfoh-lleeah-tehl-lah) sounds as sweet as it taste. The word is the diminutive of sfogliata (a type of cake), which in turn comes from sfoglia, the Italian for puff pastry. Sfoglia means “thin layer,” as the pastry is made with …

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Pasticcio (pah-stee-tchoh) comes from the vulgar Latin pasticium, in turn related to another late Latin word we know much better, pasta. It is attested in our beautiful language for the first time in 1525, a tad too late for our …

By Staff