Word of the day: Subito

Subito (soo-bee-toh) means “soon, “now,” or “immediately.” It is used in a variety of very common expressions so learning how to use it can be very handy!


As always, it comes from the Latin subitus, an adjective similar to the verb subire, which we’d translate with something on the line of  “getting close to” or “coming close.” We began using it in Italian as early as the 15th century. 


One expression with subito  you may be familiar with — and  if you’re not, believe me, it’ll come useful next time you’re in Italy! — is torno subito, which means “I’ll be right back.” Why do I say it’s a useful phrase to know? Because that’s what you’ll find written on store windows and doors, if the shop assistant/owner had to leave the premises temporarily. Worry not: the time of a quick coffee and they’ll be back. 


Subito gives a  sense  of urgency to whatever you say: vieni subito qui! (“come here now!”) or devi venire subito a casa (“you must come back home now”) sound like an order to every Italian. 


If something  happens straight after another action, we said it happens subito dopo, which you’d translate  as “straight after,” “soon after.”


And then, there are those who have a real lust for life or plenty of ambition and  vogliono tutto subito (“they want everything, immediately”).


As you can see, our subito is a pretty useful little word. One to learn… subito!

Ho bisogno di aiuto, vieni subito a casa.

I need  your help, come back home now.

Prima ha parlato con me,  subito dopo con  mia moglie. 

He spoke with me first, and with my wife straight after. 

Sei troppo egoista,  non puoi avere tutto subito.

You’re too selfish, you can’t have everything immediately. 


Receive More Stories Like This In Your Inbox



Word of the Day: Vittoria

Vittoria (Vit-toh-ree-ah) is one of those words you recognize in all languages. Victory in English, victoire in French, victoria in Spanish, never...

Word of the Day: Speranza

Speranza (spe-rahn-zah), what a beautiful word. It means “hope” and it comes from the Latin spes, a noun of the fifth declension, one that kids in...

Expression of the Day: Buona Forchetta

I believe that when someone says you are a buona forchetta you should take it as a compliment. In the end, why wouldn’t you? To be a buona forchetta...

Word of the day: pazzo

Pazzo (pah-tsoh) means crazy, and you’d be crazy to think it’s not a popular word. It comes from the word pazzia , a noun as poetic as it is...

Word of the Day: Basta

Basta (bah.stah) is one of those words that change their meaning depending on the voice intonation you choose. A peremptory “Basta!" is a strong...

Weekly in Italian

Recent Issues