Word of the Day: Cioè

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, “is,” the third person singular of the verb to be. Its meaning corresponds to the English “that is,” “that  is to say,” or “namely,”  as in the sentence il progetto deve essere consegnato il 26 di Novembre,  cioè tra una settimana (“the project’s deadline is on the 26th of November, that is to say, in one week”). 


It can be  used also to clarify a concept or to correct yourself while you speak, as in ho comprato un regalo per Nicola…no, cioè per Irene (“I got a present for Nicola, no…sorry, I mean,  Irene”) or to express doubt, uncertainty and a certain level of … shame, as in no professore, ho studiato… cioè…forse non quanto avrei dovuto (“no, professor… I did study… I mean… maybe not as much as I should have”). 


Cioè is also a popular filler word, a term used to suspend your speech while you gather your thoughts to continue, a bit like “you  know” or “ I mean” in English: sì, cioè, non è facile (“yes, you know, it’s not simple”). It is  also used often just as an  intercalari,  as “like” in English. 


One curiosity: in Italy, Cioè is also the title of a  popular teen girls magazine, a bit like Seventeen in the US!

Cioè, non l’ho mica fatto apposta! 

I mean, I didn’t do it on purpose. 

Sono nato il 24 Dicembre, cioè la Vigilia di Natale!

I was born on the  24th of December, that is, on Christmas Eve!

Cioè,  è piuttosto facile da fare se ci pensi, quella torta.

That cake, like, it’s pretty easy to make when you think about it. 

Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox



Word of the Day: Rinascita

The word rinascita, or rebirth, has never sounded so beautiful. We pronounce it ree-nah-she-tah, and it has the same root and origin as Rinascimento...

Word of the Day: Orgoglio

This week’s word, orgoglio (ohr-goh-llio), is a very special one. To begin with, it doesn’t come from Latin, but from the old language of the Franks...

Expression of the Day: Non vedo l'ora

If you translate literally non vedo l’ora (noh-n vai-doh l’oh-rah), it doesn’t make much sense. What could “not being able to see the time” possibly...

Word of the Day: Fervore

I wonder how many people are familiar with the Italian word fervore ( fair-voh-reh), easily recognizable as the English “fervor.” Fervore comes from...

Word of the Day: Coraggio

If there is one thing people have been showing these days, that’d be coraggio (coh-rah-djoh). Its meaning is simple, because the Italian sounds and...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues