Word of the Day: Mozzafiato

Well, if there is a word Italy feels definitely comfortable with, it must be mozzafiato. Compound of the verb mozzare (to cut) and fiato (breath), it is the equivalent of the English “breathtaking.” Indeed, it delivers the very same image of surprise, wander and mild, yet pleasurable, discomfort. 


Mozzafiato can  be used literally and in a more hyperbolic way: when you run as fast as  an antelope to catch that train, you’ve fatto una corsa mozzafiato, you’ve had a run that left you breathless (and possibly in need of a seat and a bottle of water, of course). If you’re in Florence, and take the afternoon to visit the Giardini di Boboli, you’re going to be rewarded with a vista mozzafiato, a breathtaking view, over the city. 


Why is Italy so comfortable with the expression, you say? Well, because it must be one of the  most exploited adjectives out there to associate with the country. Think about it: we use it for its art, but also for its natural beauties. And let’s be honest, “mozzafiato” is one of the  first words coming to mind  when  thinking of an Easter Sunday’s food spread at our grandmother’s place, even if just to describe the placid feeling of fullness and content spreading upon us once it’s all over: sitting on that couch, waiting for caffé, so full da avere il fiato mozzo, to be breathless. 


And our splendid Monica Bellucci and Sofia Loren, aren’t they bellezze mozzafiato, breathtaking beauties? 


So, this is why “mozzafiato” is the quintessential Italian adjective: it just encapsulate what the country in its entirety is!

Hai mai visto le Dolomiti? Sono  uno spettacolo mozzafiato!

Have you ever been  to the Dolomites? They’re breathtaking!

Recentemente ho letto giallo mozzafiato. Te lo presterò!

That’s s nail-biting thriller I’ve read! I’ll lend it to you. 

Monica Bellucci, che diva! È una bellezza mozzafiato.

Monica bellucci, what a diva, and what a breathtaking beauty she is!

Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox



Word of the Day: Sfizio

Togliersi qualche sfizio , (satisfy a quirky need) or even mangiare qualcosa di sfizioso (eating something tasty and indulgent) are popular...

Word of the Day: In Bocca al Lupo

In bocca la lupo is an expression that divides Italy in a half. It is used by everyone, everywhere and at any time, yet some believe that saying it...

Word of the Day: Fare il filo

Let ’ s face reality: true or not, Italians have a name for being great lovers and incredible charmers. Call it the Rudy Valentino effect, blame it...

Word of the Day: Andiamo

We are all familiar with the verb andare , which is nothing more than to go . Just like its English cousin, andare likes to get its way in...

Word of the Day: Forza

Forza! Italy’s own way to show support and invite to hold on when things get difficult, is one little powerful word. And powerful is, indeed, the...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues