Italian Slang and Swearwords

Italian Slang Dictionary: intro A B C D E F G I L M N O P Q R S T U V X Z

Introduction to Italian Slang

If you’re planning to live or travel in Italy, you might find it helpful to know what people are saying – much of which is not in polite phrasebooks! And sometimes it helps to be able to fire a few juicy phrases of your own. Select a letter above to go to the page of Italian swearwords starting with that letter.

  • Subject to revision whenever the mood strikes me. If you have something you’d like to add or suggest or comment on, go here (where you can also see what others have suggested).
  • Most of this useage is not for polite company. For milder slang and idiom, see this page.
  • I live in northern Italy, so the useage described here may be specific to northern Italy, particularly Milan and Lombardy, unless otherwise noted. Your mileage may vary.
  • Here’s a video of some common Italian hand gestures (many of them rude, along with pronunciation of some of the phrases below).
  • Giovanna & Angiolino: a pop song (yes, it’s relevant)


A Note on Blasphemy

Some of these words and phrases fall into the category of bestemmie (blasphemy): taking the Lord’s (or Jesus’ or Mary’s) name in vain. Be aware that these may be considered particularly offensive by some people.

Other rude words are simply called parolacce – “bad words.”

172 thoughts on “Italian Slang and Swearwords

  1. Sean

    A friend of mine once struck up a conversation with an old Italian gentleman in a park. The conversation when something like this: “So, where are you from?” “Chicago.” “Sopra. [laughs to himself] No, but where are you from?” “Chicago.” “Sopra. [etc.]”

    “Ci cago sopra” translates as “I shit on that,” a middle-school-type joke you wouldn’t expect from a 70-year-old man. My friend sure had fun retelling that story, though.

  2. Ginger

    Does anyone know the exact definition of: PIRLA?

    Heard this on my sons playground at school, have looked in all the slang/cuss dictionaries and couldn’t find it!

  3. matt polson

    How about ‘Stronzo’? I cannot spell in any language but it was explained to me to mean solid poo, kind of like a coprolite. generally used as ‘vafanculo stronzo’.
    And for ‘porco’, it always seemed to be ‘porca mesera’ around Ferrara. which I seem to remember was about the woe that comes from being a prostitute, taking the easy route in life (?) or something, but maybe that was something else.

  4. Roberto

    Can anyone please tell me what porcona means? Obviously it’s a derivation of porca, but I have yet to find a dictionary or Web site that gives the definition of the word.

    I’d also like the definition of vaccona, which is a derivation of vacca.

  5. webmaster

    The ending -ona adds emphasis – , x-ona is like saying “the big fat x.” There are other endings that shade the meanings of words in different ways, I’ve been meaning to write an article about that…

  6. Victor

    My friend says “Bap-ay-al” and says it means idiot. I think it actually means something else. I can’t find anything … Anyone know?

    I think we all know what “Schivosa” means. LOL.

  7. Qt

    Well done, but as an italian i have to say that “scattole” and “sciuppare” don’t have doubles consonant in it, they are written “scatole” and “sciupare”.

  8. Julie

    When I was in Rome there was a lot of graffiti that said “veni, vidi, scuci”. The first part is the famous latin “I came, I saw” but the “scuci” is in Italian. I was told that it meant “I came, I saw, I masturbated” but all I can find for scucire is to “undo”, which I guess could be slang for masturbating. Can you confirm that?

  9. Rebekah Joy

    I am learning quite a bit on your website here! :-) I love learning languages! Plus, my youth group leader from my church….he is first generation to come to America. His parents met each other over the boat from Sicily. Kinda romantic story, huh?! *sigh*. I’m not too crazy on the vulgar expressions/idioms/ etc. but I do enjoy your other features! Ciao!

  10. PseudoTecnico

    Nice page ;-) (I’m from Brescia, not so far from Milan)

    “Boh” usually means “I don’t know…”
    Example: “Sai che ore sono?” -> “Boh!”

    “Cozza”: another word used to define an ugly girl is “Scorfano” (an orrible fish, Scorpaena scrofa, you can see a photo on italian Wikipedia). “Scorfano” can be used also for ugly men, like “cesso” (more used)

    “Farsi” means also “take drug” (see “fattone”)

    “Svarione” is a big and evident error
    Example: “Ha preso uno svarione”

    Last note about “porco” and the association with God (Dio): even if it’s largely used in the north east of Italy (especially in the form god+cane), this is not an exclamation but “bestemmia”, this is maybe the worst form of blasphemy, so it’s better if you forget it for an italian tour (catholic country) ;-)

    “carampana”: a very old woman but also a middle-aged woman that tries to appear younger and sexier (usually with a lot of makeup and sensual cloths)

  11. Scoop0901

    My stepfather used to use several phrases, including “fungoo,” which someone pointed out, above.

    There were others, but I have no idea of the corret spelling. Maybe someone can help me out with those. The words (and closest meanings I figured out) are:
    Manja/manja lugots (Eat my … balls?)
    Testameanya (balls …?)
    Fotch de cotz (no idea)

  12. Tina

    Sfachime – my mother had told me that it basically means ‘two faced bastard’. Anyone else ever hear that?

  13. monica

    what “mica paddiuzza” means exactly? a friend of mine told me it was sicilian slang meaning “is not a little thing”… can you tell me more of this phrase context?

    Thanks.

  14. Qt

    About “Accidente, un”, how about adding the expression “Ti venisse un accidente” as in “I wish you an illness as in broke a bone, an heart stroke an ictus and so on ?
    Ciao!

  15. Qt

    Another meaning for “balle” is testicles with the same connotations as “palle” as it is the common northern italian dialects word for “palle”.
    Ciao

  16. Jim

    What a great site – brings back memories of living in Milan 20 years ago. Looking through the C section I was reminded of The Godfather, where Marlon Brando says proudly at one point “I am a coglione”. Could be the American pronunciation of the family name, or maybe he’s just realized something.

  17. Ray

    Watching the Sopranos you hear slang words that they use in Italian. There is a name that Tony calls his son, it’s gagootz (not sure of the spelling but that’s how it sounds). What does it mean in english?

  18. Elida Meadows

    What about fessa? And mona? Too regional? I’m an Australian with Italian parents so I hear various words such as these from Italo-Australian family and friends of all regions and am not always sure if they are local terms or Italian- wide or if they have actually dropped out of usage in Italy. When I lived in Italy for one year (ages ago) I also heard a lot of “Va fa muffa” which I really liked and “Ti pari?” said in a very sarcastic tone.
    A funny thing happened here in Katoomba (village in the Blue Mountains region west of Sydney) where a restaurant called itself “I Cazzi Nostri” and the Italian teacher at the local high school (not of Italian origin herself) made a complaint to the Consumer Tribunal. The owner (who was Italian) argued that this expression is not considered obscene ito Italians and won the case. Is it true that Italians do not necessarily object to that kind of language?

  19. Elida Meadows

    Re “gagootz” – it’s the American version of cucuzza, Southern Italian for pumpkin or squash and means idiot I guess

  20. webmaster

    Elida, thanks! I had no idea what to do with that one. I guess it’s related to the northern Italian use of citrullo (cetriolo – cucumber).

    Ray – Fesso/fesso I already know. Mona I’ve heard, don’t remember offhand what it means but will find out. Regional is fine – eventually I’d like to have videos with people from various regions explaining their slang, including the accompanying gestures. Just haven’t had time to do that yet!

  21. Elida Meadows

    H, i mona is another word for fica – from the Veneto I think. I’ve heard it used in the following expression: “Mica mona, mona ti” which I think means: “You’re not a c**t, you c**t.”

  22. Elida Meadows

    Thanks Ray, mona is another word for fica – from the Veneto I think. I’ve heard it used in the following expression: “Mica mona, mona ti” which I think means: “You’re not a c**t, you c**t.” So I guess from your answer that it is not in widespread usage.

  23. Petit Loup

    Great site!
    But I have a question: what is the use of the word “casino”? Like what are the most popular expressions? I have found that it means also “a lot” like when “un casino di bacioni”. But what else?

  24. Veneto1

    M: There is an Italian word Tony Soprano uses to mean a WASP or white person? Any idea what that was? This was in Season 1, disc 3, in the episode “A Hit is a Hit”. It’s used in the conversation in which he refers to his neighbor Cusamano as a “wonderbread WOP.”
    Thanks.

  25. Amy

    When I visited Sicily I heard the word “scustomato” or “squistomato?” From the little Italian I could understand, I understood it to mean something disgusting. Could anyone verify this for me?

  26. Steve

    My grandfather’s nickname was “Cischi.” I’m told it was probably vulgar, but I’ve been unable to find it’s meaning. Any help?

  27. valentino

    Troiaio means a mess in a larger scale. ex. a junky car can be a troiaio, a messy house can be a troiaio, the electricioan did a troiaio job (shitty job).

    If said to a person it means that that person is worth nothing. ex. Che troiaio di persona. (Tuscan slang)

  28. Danny

    haha another fun one is che cazzo fare [what the fuck are you doing?!]. i yell that at my sister all the time.

  29. Renato

    A word of advice about italo-american slang from the Sopranos and similar mafia related movies: that’s almost never even remotely similar to italian.

    Most sicilians would not understand it, either: they are americanizations of the sicilian dialect of a century ago. Only very, very old persons from sicily would understand american-sicilian.

    “Scustomato” is actually “scostumato” and is oldish italian, but more common in sicily. It means literally “dressed skimpy”, and figuratively “ill behaved”.

    re: wasp person. There is no such word in italian and/or italian dialects. Italians don’t normally know even what a WASP person is, if they did not study american culture. Moreover, racial awareness is very, very low, italy being populated by at the very least 20-30 ethnic groups ranging from red headed with green eyes to middle-eastern and greek lookalikes :)

  30. Qt

    Some thing i noticed during one of my rereading of this slang section (that i love as i love your “look from the outside”).
    Caca is usual spelling is with a double ‘c’.
    Casino also stand for houses where whore work (when it was still legal in italy those places where also called “case chiuse”, closed houses).
    There is another form for “preso per i fondelli” and “preso in giro” … “preso per il culo” (lit. took by the ass/asshole”), same meaning, but as you see is a lot ruder.
    About “minchia”, have you ever considered translating the Sanremo song “Minchia Signor Tenente” by Giorgio Faletti ?

  31. Dom

    Hi all

    Does anyone know what it means if someone writes “K Fisso!!!” to me? I’ve never heard this before…

    Thanks
    Dom

  32. Luca

    Where the hell did you put FIGA PELOSA? And waht about FIGASSA MARCIA e CAZZO DI CANE, not to mention an endless series of blasfemy that you have to put it.

    Mate, it’s not complete!

  33. Qt

    For #45 (Dom)
    I think you are speaking about “Che fesso!” and its translation would be “What an idiot!”
    Ciao!

  34. Beniamino

    Mi piace moltissimo questo site.

    An Italian-American friend of mine recounts that as a young girl, she was affectionately called “my little pucaccia” by her father, who knew only a modicum of italian. He told her puciaccia meant “cute little heiny, or butt”, yet when she asked her grandmother later in life, granny was shocked and said that it means “vagina”. Any ideas on that?

  35. Gio

    Don’t forget these fine sicilian gems:

    u sticchiu – vagina, but meant literally as anatomy, IE “o scassato chistu stichhiu” (ho rotto questo sticchiu) or “vogghiu dintru su sticchiu” (voglio dentro suo sticchiu). Interesting how a guy’s thing is LA minchia a woman’s thing is LO sticchiu.

    and scecchu- a horse, but when used on a person it refers to a dumb or damaged horse no longer useful on a farm.

    Sicilian people are big on utility and often use “inutile” (useless) as part of a litany of insult.

    Ti adoro chistu blog! Bravo!

  36. shelby

    ok so if fungoo is like the degenerate American way of saying “fuck you” then wow do born in italy Italians say it???

  37. payall

    Hello there,

    Can anyone help me out and post a link on
    Correct pronunciation of Italian words…
    At times i make mistake in saying the words,
    as one reads it in english and say it incorrectly.

  38. nani

    mona is venetian. as noun is “pussy” as adjective is ” stupid”

    “ciao” is the only italian word coming from venetian
    ” Sciao vostro” was common greating in Venice (meaning your slave, at your service”
    “sciao” get too difficult pronounce for non_venetics so other italian say simply ” ciao”

  39. Leandro

    Viado in Brazil, we call to the Gays or ou can call Bichona (Bi-xo-na)…..

    Só in italian… have…
    Stronzo: Asshole
    Cazzo: Dick
    Figli di una puta madre: Son of a Bitch
    Porca Puttana: Porca= Pig Puttana= Bitch so look like that! haha

  40. Valentina

    Here’s another bad word: INCULARE, from “culo”. It means “to fuck someone in the ass”, but also “steal” or “cheat”. “Non me lo/la inculo” – “i don’t fuck him/her in the ass” means “i don’t care about him/her”.

  41. Valentina

    And also:
    “Raspone”: male masturbation
    “Rutto”: belch
    “Rompere il culo” “ti rompo il culo”: “to break the ass” – “i break your ass”, means to beat somebody down.
    “ti sfondo il culo”: “i smash your ass”, the same of “rompere il culo”
    “sfaccimme”: napoli’s word for sperm. “omm e sfaccimme” means “man of sperm”, a very bad guy.
    “bocce” – “pere” – “zizze”: tits
    “inzuppare il biscotto”: “to soak the biscuit” – to have sex
    now some words for dick: cazzo – pesce (fish) – varra – mazza (club)- pisello, pisellino, pisellone (pea, little pea for children penis, big pea) – uccello (bird) – verga (rod)- cella (south italy: cell. in other regions it means “cunt” ) – serpente (snake)- randello (bludgeon) – fava (broad bean) – minchia.
    And for cunt: passera (female sparrow) – patata, patatina (potato, little potato) – farfallina (little butterfly) – pescia, pesciotta (female fish)- gnocca (female dumpling) – fregna – fessa (in very very correct italian “fessa” means “broken” or “cracked”, but no one uses that word in that meaning anymore)- bernarda – buco (hole) – mona – topa (female mouse)- tana (lair)- patonza -sorca (female mouse in dialect)- pelo, pilu (hair, “pilu” is used in calabria) – pucchiacca – boschetto (little wood)- vulva

  42. Deirdre Straughan Post author

    ROTFL. I am using “literally” in its original sense:

    1. in the literal or strict sense: What does the word mean literally?
    2. in a literal manner; word for word: to translate literally.

    …because these pages attempt to translate slang, where it is useful to give both a literal translation (which often sounds more silly than rude) and a translation of the sense of a word or phrase.

  43. bruna, italy

    for 38 scostumato is southern, means rude.
    for 24 sfaccimme is neapolitan and literally means sperm
    for 48 pucchiacca, neapolitan dialect for pussy
    for 11 everytime you want to point out size you add x-ona to the word ex bambinona, in the same way you can say bambinetta, or casetta for a small bambina or casa, its called a diminutive in this case.

  44. Sherlock

    Hi, a question about meaning if you please….someone wrote the following on a picture of our students (studying English) but there is some disagreement about the meaning (one student thinks it could be crude?) The sentence was : un bacione a quella signora sulla destra.. Can anyone help??
    Thanks!

  45. phillip

    Im trying to find out a phrase my Uncle used to use: It sounds something like “Ben ne ga” And it he would yell it to me to come over to him. any ideas? thanks all

  46. Ashleigh

    i have some italian students at my school this is what these words mean:
    Cazzo – dick
    Figa – Vagina
    Fottiti – F**k it
    Vaffanculo – F**k you
    Stronzo – Asshole
    F**k in ass – Inculato
    Coglione / Pene – Penis
    Puttana – Bitch
    Frocio / Richione – Gay
    Succhiami il cazzo – Suck my cock
    Merda – sh*t

  47. Jenna Tedesco

    Recently my dog had several teeth removed, and my mother-in-law, whose family was from the Naples area, jokingly called him “scugnamill’”(sounds like skoon-yah-MEEL). I would like to know the literal translation of this idiom, and if possible, the correct spelling.

    Also, when I was a child, my grandfather from Campobasso and grandmother from Roccamandolfi and Avelino used to say two little nursery rhymes: one was sung to the tune of Brahms’ lullaby, and began “Ninanonn’” (NEEN-ah-NAWN); the other was a little poem about a cat:

    Mooshey Moosheel
    Ce mangiate caschille?
    Ce ne data me?
    No? Froosa-froos’ a la casa tuo.

    I’d like to know the “real” words, spellings, etc. I believe the translation was something like:

    Kitty kitty,
    Did you eat all the cashille?
    Did you save me some?
    No? Then run back to your own house!

    Thanks!

  48. Jenna Tedesco

    Oh and for 60, I believe the correct spelling is cavone. I had been told that it means “pig” and generally refers to uncultured, lowlife types.

  49. Jimmy stacchino

    for #67: it sounds like he’s saying, “vieni qua” – “come here” although he’s probably slurring the phrase, or using a sort of regional language.

  50. Amanda Santilli

    i have a question i am not sure how to spell the word. But my grandmother and my father have always said it. I will spell it how it sounds will you please tell me what it means and the correct spelling for it?

    the word is ….. GAGoots

  51. palmasco

    @67 I’m positive it stays for “bene ca” which is a southern dialect for “vieni qua” which means “come here”.
    It’s spelled with a “b”, instead than a “v”, because of the spanish influence in the south, in which language they often pronounce the b almost like a v.
    @68 Ninna nanna has a general meaning of “lullaby”, AND is also very often the refrain and beginning lines of most of them. For more precise informations, you can browse through this page that hosts meny ninna nanne http://www.filastrocche.it/menu.asp?idCategory=21 , maybe you’ll find the exact one the used to sing to you, I hope so :)
    @69 the correct spelling is cafone, with an f, not cavone, with a v. It means, as you said, a peasant, an ineducated rural person from a small village.

  52. Billy

    I love this. There is a lot of naples dialect and slang too. Sfacimma= bitch, but also can be used with kids “sfaccimm’, vene cca”…Finochio becomes Finucc’ (fin-ook..and that is plural (In naples to make something plural instead of using the “i” at the end of the word, the turn “o” into “u” and “e” into an “i” in the middle of the word). Cucuzza= squash and it can mean idiot or again be used as a joke. Others include:

    Scemo/Scema= Idiot
    Strunz= Stonzo
    Scaccia Banc’ =piece of junk car
    Scugnizzo= trouble maker/brat
    Pucchiaca= cunt
    Sticchio= ” ”
    Fessa/fissa= ” ”
    Maro’ = maronna = madonna
    Zoccola= sewer rat/whore very bad offence
    Testa Minc’ = dick head
    Minchia= dick
    Cazz’ =balls
    Cogliune=” ”
    Cafone/Ccafune= scum bag, ive also heard it meant as a show off…but only heard that in calabria.
    Chiattone= Fatty/fat girl
    Cazzimma = same as sfaccimma

  53. Billy

    number 68 mooshey moosheel i think would be Musci’ musciella. musciella in neapolitan means cry baby..and musci’ would be like muscia =mooshey, slow, kinda blah…mooshy cry baby. That was my grandmothers nickname as a baby…musciella…pron. as MOO-SJEEL-uh…because she cried a lot lol.

  54. Billy

    The song my grandmother used to sing to me was ” Ninna nanna baby…comme vene papa…e tu portu candy…ninna nanna baby” and of course “Spat’ ‘i mane cca vene papa, E port’o zucchero a tu mamma” which goes to the tune of clap hands clap hands til daddy comes home.

  55. Billy

    Oh yeah…another one…
    ‘O Mariuollo= A thief.
    Guaglió=kid, boy
    Guaglione=kids
    Guaglionce’/guaglionciella=girl
    Guappo= mafioso (which is interesting because the napulitano word for arrogance is “guapparia”)
    Ricchione=fag
    Sciminito=dummy
    caruso= young man
    bagascia= whore

    Some sicilian ones i know are Picciriddu=little boy, puttaneddu, Arussu=fag, and minchioni..which they often say as “minghioni” maybe it is “mingghiuni?”
    my ex’s sister in law was from catania and she used to say “baesha” or “baescia” (bai-ei-scia) or (BUY-EY-SHA) for whore.

  56. Billy

    someone was asking about the word tony soprano used to hit…was it schiaffite?(to punch or hit) or most likely amazz’ ? (to punish.) Schiatto is another one, to damage, break, crush…sciacca/struppiato=hurt, and the other one i know would be “a spazz’ ” meaning to crush, damage, etc. “Ti spazz’ a cuscietiell’ “(ill break your legs) tony soprano usually said “ill give him amazz’ “

  57. Mike

    I remember as a child growing up in Baia, a term when some one got “annoyed”, something like “Ohh-FA or UWE-FA” Is this a real Italian word, and what is the real spelling and meaning? Thanks.

  58. Deirdre Straughan Post author

    It’s spelled uffa and is pronounced ooffa. It’s a general sound of disgust and irritation and can be drawn out to ooofffffaaaaa if you’r really annoyed.

  59. Bill

    Can anyone give me an interpretation of the Italian expression: Oh, Madrone! or Oh, Madrona Mia! This expression is used when someone says something and it comes as a surprise or something that comes across as negative. My Italian parents, grandparents and Italian old timers used it a lot.

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  61. Al

    Bill, “Oh, Madonna” is the phrase. It is kinda like “dear God!” or “Oh, Lord!”, except using Mary.

  62. Porcellino

    What a splendid, informative website ! And evocative, too: the slang-and-swearwords pages send me hurtling back to my youth, spent in the bosom of a huge extended family of Abruzzese and Neapolitan elders, all of whom [ even . . . no, ESPECIALLY . . . the women ! ] had vocabularies rich in vulgarity and obscenity.

    Please keep the site alive and up to date, Deirdre.

  63. craig Voss

    “STUNADE” sounds like this: STOO NOD. Is there an italian idiom that sounds like this emeaning stupid, dopey, thick, obtuse, lamebrain? “What are you, Stunade?!?!?!?

  64. Anthony

    Regarding “cucuzza”. In my family it referred to zucchini. One of my favorites was cucuzza and egg sangwitch. Slice the zucchini real thin and add them to a frying pan with oil. When they start to soften add a scramble egg mixture with a little parmesan add. After the eggs are cooked you make your sangwitch either hot or cold from the fridge, I like mine with sliced tomatoes. You can substitute bell peppers for the zucchini.

  65. marco

    very funny….
    ‘pirla’ it means stupid as well as dick and also it means to turn in Milano….’pelanda’ means lazy but also slut
    ‘sfaccim’ in Neaples is a smart guys as well as sperm. In sicily ‘arruso’ is faggot, in sardinia ‘coddare’ means to fuck…and so on…every 50 km language changes

  66. Rosemarie

    An Italian friend of mine always calls my 8 month old “faccine” I do not know how to spell it I am only sounding it out according to how she says this. Can anyone tell me correct spelling and what it means?
    Thanks

  67. Alicia

    These are words my grandmother says, I have NO idea how to spell them, and since she heard them from her mother (slang words) she doesn’t know either and thinks most are words for silly things, that she used as a child to mean other things. I will spell them as they sound to me:

    Fa-cha-brute
    Flay-get-it-gatz
    Pee-sha-leek
    Ma-don-a-me
    stu-gatz
    Pasta-fazul

    she also says Cavone, Fungool, etc.

    anyone recognize any of these?

  68. Tia

    @Alicia
    Pee-sha-leek could be “piscialletto”, which literally refers to someone who pisses in bed, but it’s used to say that you don’t have the guts, you’re a coward, you’re a pussy.

    Stu-gutz is “stucazz!”, a slang of “stocazzo!” or “‘sto cazzo!”. literally translated is “this dick”, but it is used when you’re surprised of something and it means something like “wow! amazing! incredible! Can’t believe it!” and so on.

    Pasta-fazul could be “pasta e fasö” (in Milanese slang) or “pasta e fagioli” in Italian and means “pasta with beans”.

    Cavone could be “cafone” and refers to a man (“cafona” is the female) who thinks to be best in the world and wants you to know it, showing you his “smartness” and his “amazing” abilities.

    Fungool is “fangul”, a slang of “fanculo, vaffanculo” (which I think you know what means…)

    hope I’ve helped you ;-)
    ciao!

  69. Pagano

    My Grandmother used to say words that I can say but not spell nor know the meaning of. Can you help?

    “A Fanabla” Pronounced A-FAH-NAH-BLAH (I think it means “go take a hike” or “go to Naples”?)

    “Ongoda” Pronounced
    ON (like turn “on”)-GO-DAH

    “La Fitanda” Pronouced LAH-FI-TANDA (She used to call me that when I was a brat!)

    “sporcaccione” Pronouced SPOR-KA-CHONE (I think it means “pig” or “dirty”)

    “Minga!” I have no idea…

    “Manga” which I think we all know means EAT!

  70. Jonathon

    Does or has anyone heard the syaing “Stas a Sitz?” There was an Italian bar owner in Pittsburgh who used to yell this all the time to certain people. I porbably destroyed the spelling

    thank you
    Jonathon

  71. Nguyen Toom

    The word gavone (GAV-OWN) is an anglicized “americanized” pronounciation of the Italian word Cafone (CAH-PHONE-AY) stressing the vowel at the end. Among second and third generation Italian Americans when saying someone is a gavone they usually are expressing that the indidual has no class. In proper Italian grammar the word Cafone simply means that a peson is a stupid jerk. In American colloquilism the phrase “ba fongool” (as seen hollered by Talia Shire in the first Godfather movie” is often obviously mistaken for the “F word” in english and again is an anglicized pronounciation of what someone posted earlier va fan culo (VAH FAHN-COOL-OH) With the closest translation being “go stick it up your ass”.
    It is important to remember that there is no J, K, X, W, or Y in the traditional Italian alphabet. They have what they call foreign letters that are similar to Greek symbols-but normally they are not used. The Italian American slang term GOOM-BAH once again is a pronounciation of the Italian word compare (KUM-PAR-AY) really meaning fellow country man, friend, buddy, comrade. In the U.S. “goomba” could be a term of endearment or it could be sarcastic/offensive depending on who’s saying it, who there saying it to, and the intended context-how someone sounds when there saying along with what they’re refering to. The feminine form of this in the U.S. “GOO-MAHD” or “GOO-MANEE” 99.999% of the time is refering to a woman being someones mistress and when it is, it it obviously always offensive

  72. Cliff

    Wow, great site and comments! Really enjoyed reading all these.
    Does anyone know an Italian word that sounds like “coot-a- boots”, I am told it meant the horse’s ass? I was actually told its the part of the horse that crosses the fence last.
    Thanks.

  73. Letizia

    @Alicia

    Facha Brute = ugly face

    but if you ever want to compliment someone….you dont say facha you say Visio Bella or Bello (idk sp. on visio) beautiful face :)

  74. Gianna

    Does anyone know what the word that sounds like, taw-na-mas-co is? I don’t know how to spell it. I think it means something like, little trouble maker, or little kid who thinks he is tough. Any ideas? or proper spelling? Thank you

  75. Rose

    Gosh, if anyone can solve this one, we’ve been wondering for YEARS! what our Nana meant by this word: sounding out it is : “Git-a-pots-in-a. ” Nana would say it when something happened, maybe the water started to overboil on the stove and she’d say THAT word, walk quickly over, turn down the stove and stir the pasta. It sometimes sounded to us like, “get-the-pots-and-the”? Even my Aunt who’s 84 now, can’t remember what the word actually meant, but it was from Nana’s, side, the “Capotosto” side! (yes, hard-head!) I thought they were from near Bari? I can remember Nana saying the same thing after my Sis and I, about 8 and 4 years old were climbing her little apple tree in her back yard. Only BOYS did that! And she came over to the tree with her Son, my Dad and said, “Gitapotsina! Girls! now you come down out of there you’re going to get hurt!” She went ‘Tisk, tisk, tisk… I don’t know about you Son, letting your Girls climb around like monkeys there!” Our Dad replied, “this tree is nothing Mom, you should see the big maples and oaks they love to climb!” Our Mom gave our Dad the look! like really… you HAD to say THAT! now the Girls will be cooped up in here and forced to dry dishes, God Forbid they drop or break a dish! We only drove the 8 hours out there 2 times per year: Easter & Thanksgiving! Nana came East by train maybe 5 times? Our lifestyle was WAY too ‘modern’ for the likes of Nana. But it was just the late 1960′s and early 70′s? Well Nana still had the washing machine that you fed your clothes through a ‘ringer’, but not our little socks! They jammed her machine and Dad had to look high and low for a new or used part! Italian women do NOT like to part with their coveted machines, little cooking tools/devices (favorite egg beater), dishes and beverage glasses- separate ones, God Forbid! you used the same one! One type was for orange/any Juice only and one type of glass for Milk only! Nana still had her milk delivered to her front door step up until 1985! She lived not too far from “Mr. Roger’s”(from PBS)! If ANYONE can shed light on ‘Getapotsina’? I thank you very much in advance!!! :)
    Rose

  76. Francesco

    @Rose
    I think that she says “getta ‘a pastina”. This means “throw the (small) pasta (in the water)”.

  77. Deirdre Straughan Post author

    Hmm, hadn’t thought of that but I’ll bet you’re right. However, it’s probably used as a polite replacement, the way people say cavolo instead of cazzo. Not sure what she’d be substituting here, though – Gesu’, maybe?

  78. rxm

    @Rose
    I’m an Italian mother tongue and I’m sure “Getapotsina” is actually “Ch’a t’possina…” (“May they…”) which is an euphemistic exclamation for some sort of surprise, shock and so. The comlpete sentence would be rather “strong”: “Ch’a t’possin’accid” (“May they kill you!”). This is not Italian, it’s some dialect from the south of Italy (say from Roma to Sicilia) which lacks of a grama and of any official spelling and therefore is to be writtten phonetically as I did.

  79. Gene Serra

    My father who is now deceased used to recite an Itaian poen about a boy who ate an apple and choked on the seed. Does anyone else know this poem or did he take it to the grave?

  80. Debra Robuccio Drew

    My Dad’s family (Robuccio) use to use the word mudone or mud on which I thought mean, oh geesh or holy cow, whatever… does anyone know the word, how to spell in Italian and its meaning?? Thanks!

  81. Tim

    @Alice and Letizia

    Forgive me if I offend, but it is spelt
    faccia brutte
    I dont know if you were just spelling it for English speakers to read more easily. But for those who do not know, if it is ci or ce, it makes the “ch” sound, as in “faccia” (fah-CHEE-ah) or “arrivederci” (ah-ree-vah-der-CHEE). If you have a word that has a “k” sound followed by i or e, you spell it chi (key) or che (keh). It is kind of opposite to English. The H goes in where you DONT want the “ch” sound. Example “chiamo” (KEE-ah-mo).
    The double consonants are also important in pronunciation. For instance in “brutte,” you pronounce it like (brute-tay). The “t” is sounded twice. Others would say it is not sounded out twice, so much as drawn out. Another way of explaining it even is that the first syllable ends with the “t” sound and the “t” sound also carries over to begin the second syllable. Sorry if I am overexplaining, but it can be hard to describe the sound if you are not hearing it. Hope this helps and doesnt offend.

  82. Cortney

    Hi there, I’m trying to figure out how to spell a slang term my grandma used to call me when I was little — I think it meant “mischievous” or “mischief-maker” or “troublemaker.” Phonetically, it was “pus-ta-chone.” If anyone has any insight into how that’s spelled, I’d appreciate it! (If it helps, her family was from Alfadena, near Rome, I guess?) Thanks!

  83. Susan

    @ Debra: It was probably “marrone” which technically means chestnut; in slang it means “Sh*t!”

  84. Nicola

    Vito,
    The word “wagglio” is the phonetical transcription of “guaglione” that in Neapolitan, or for that matter, in many southern Italian dialects means “young boy”
    Your answer to Cortney should be spelled “sporcaccione”. This term means litterally dirty boy or dirty minded boy.
    I hope these explanations help…

  85. Len DeAngelis

    Wagglio–is Neopolitan for young boy.
    Che n’possa in a…. is a curse and usually the last word drifted away but meant, “May you drip blood,” and was often spoken with a gesture of the flattened hand being bitten at the thumb side. Gruesome!
    And we survived!

  86. Tom Melchiorre

    Salut’
    That expression about dripping blood was really scary when I was a boy. My Irish mother, Madiucc’ i.e. Mary , taught me about that one when I was young. My Italian side from the “old country” used many of those Italian slangs and growing up in New Jersey it wasn’t until I went to college with the”Medicans” that I realized everybody didn’t use or understand these Italian/ American words!!
    Tom Melchiorre

  87. iar

    @CORTNEY
    Is not “sporcaccione” cause we use it expecially for someone who make dirty things, for example an old sporcaccione, an old man who made dirty things. I think your grandma use the word “PASTICCIONE” someone who made a “pasticcio” something messy, like kids when playing and make chaos in the house destroying fornitures or the like.
    @DEBRA ROBUCCIO
    I’m sure your family use the word “MADONNA!” (mud-oh-nnah) is a synonim for Mary the Mother of Jesus. We use it a lot in Italy and it’s not a curse if you said it plain without something dirty attached.
    @FOR ALL
    Americans with Italian root maybe use words in dialect from their city of origin and not words in Italian Language that every Italian can understand. This is because here in Italia expecially in little towns (and there are more little towns than big city here) people talk in their dialects. But can be also that when they live their homeland they dont speak a correct Italian so they can talk only in dialect or broken Italian. A little bit like I’m writing now in english, please forgive me if I made mistakes but I have flu… it’s flu time in Italia now! Ciao a tutti

  88. Frank

    Ch’a t’possina….my mother followed with:

    Spara (shoot you)
    Matzza (kill you)
    cachia occhio e ti metto in mano (poke out your eyes and put them in your hands)
    colio un colpo scurro (get struck by a dark force)

    And we are Ciocaro….and its hard-core dialect

  89. Giorgio

    I’m italian. If you want know new bad words, call me :)
    ‘Che te possano..’ is too false. The true word is ‘Che te possino..’ ‘Che te pozzano..’ ‘Che te pozzino..’ ‘Te possano..’

  90. Art (arturo)

    I am not fluent in Italian, but where I’m from “scooch a menz” means the equivalent of “pest and a half”.

  91. D

    Hey Everyone,

    My Nonna had the BEST insult I’ve ever heard — it was Sicilian, existential and cruel. She’s gone now and I can’t remember it. It translated roughly as “You are nothing mixed with no one.” Any ideas?

  92. Tom Gentilo

    Hello! 2nd generation italian here and damn proud of my heritage!! When I was a very small boy, I can remember a relative of mine, after banging their thumb with a hammer, saying something that sounded like “ma funds ah low”. Not trying to be vulger, but sincerely interested in my heratige, I was always facinated by what they were saying! Please, anyone who can shed some light on this, please do so!

  93. Chris

    My father told me of a word that my grandfather would call one of his relatives. He told me that it meant “uncle” but it “zio.” Does anybody know of some other words or phrases that also mean “uncle,” are there any colloquial terms for “uncle?”

  94. RN

    what does madrone mean? like when something is wrong. im sure thats not the right spelling. “oh madrone!” thanks

  95. Eric

    My grandpa used to say “tu daysk” (phonetic) to me and my brothers when we were little, but we never knew or figured out what it meant. he said it meant ‘knucklehead’ by my mom insisted that it was worse. Any suggestions??

  96. Crystal Hicks

    My friend uses a word that she says is Italian for “heartburn” or “upset stomach”. It sounds like .. agedous to me, a non-Italian. Help! She doesn’t know how to spell it.

  97. Cavatelli

    The poster above is completely wrong about “marrone.” Completely.

    That spelling is meant to represent how the Southern Italian immigrants pronounced the word Madonna – Madonn’.
    As in “Madonna mia”, a VERY common expression of, alternately, wonder, horror, disapproval, excitement, etc.

    It has nothing to do with chestnuts. Nothing.

  98. cavatelli

    The word is “agita.” It’s related to “agitation.” It can mean heartburn, literally, or mental agitation.

    Sometimes spelled “agida.”

  99. S. Potenza

    It is not “mudron” or anything like it, and certainly not “chestnut” (marrone) that people remember their relatives saying…it’s madonn’ short for Madonna, the mother of Jesus. Unbelievable that non one knows this…….duh, Italian culture is CATHOLIC!

  100. Joe

    My Sicilian Grandmother used the word Me-NAH-ga when something went wrong. Anyone know what that word means? I really appreciate the people logging in here and helping out!! it is wonderful. best regards

  101. kathy davis

    My southern Italian relatives used to use a word that sounded like “pizza da festa” to refer to someone stupid. I got the idea that it meant someone so dumb that he/she stood by and did nothing instead of acting.
    Anyone have any ideas about this?

  102. KPD

    @Joe -I believe you’re referring to “mannaggia”, which means “damn!”. My dad used to say ” Mannaggia la” (= “Damn it”), sometimes adding on “madonnaccia” (which I assume is the pejorative version of “madonna!”).

    He also used the word “chooch” (ciuccio), to describe someone he thought was a jackass.

  103. Valeria

    My Dear Nonna, may she RIP, used to say the funniest thngs.
    1. She used to say, when she was angry with us, (because we could be misbehaving brats sometimes), ” You sumanabitch, I’m a gonna killa you. and we used to run away and laugh so hard and then she would too.
    2. She also used to say. “Mamma mia questa via” or something like that. Does any one know what it means? She used to say it when she was frustrated and I always thought it meant “Mamma mia, what I endure ( go through)!”
    3. She also said mannaggia alot, among many other things.

  104. moonwillow

    For Rose regarding scattozza. It is from the verb scattare which means to explode and scattuzo describes someone who flies off the handle and has a hot temper. I know because it is a nickname of my family.

  105. Carl DiUbaldo

    My Grandmother kived on a farm in Colorado and had to go down a gully to a stream to get water. It was a hard job carrying the water up hill. She said she used to sing “WELLA – WELLA – SAL-MA-BECH GO TO HELLA” all the way down and back.

  106. Carl DiUbaldo

    Thank God for all the Italians that came to the U.S. worked at all the miserable jobs others would not and are finally gitting the credit they deserve.

  107. martone armando

    roglia= leprosy
    rogliolenta is a person with leprosy
    Valeria-you are right in the interpretation of the words
    Scattozza in the southern part of Italy is a person worth nothing
    Pizza da festa= A retarded performing clown at a public celebration

  108. Pingback: Learn Italian bad words – Learn Italian | Learn Italian

  109. ParmaGee

    TO the woman who wants to know what “Git-a-pots-ima” means : it sounds like your grandmother (nonna) was saying “That’s crazy….” Che pazza ( my mother is from Naples and we heard the most awful hard core insults growing up)

  110. Tom

    I heard a lot of these growing up, from my Calabrese family. There are some I’ve never had an explanation for, and maybe someone with knowledge of Calabrian dialects can help. Phonetically, and over the mists of time:

    sku-tcha-MEN-ta
    chuh PU-ta or sha-PU’
    festa whada MEN-ta

    The ones I already knew are mannaggia, faNapola, cappa d’osta (gabbadost’), agita, and stai zitto (sta ta JEETa) and vieni qua.

    Finally, my nonna used to pinch our cheeks and say “come si brutta,” which I take it is either an attempt to deflect a malocchio or a frank assessment of our appearance, as we’re only quarter Italian.

  111. Hellena Charilaou

    For Rose a 2010 comment I just saw now 2012.

    You probably have the right words of “Git-a-pots-in-a. ” by now, but I’ll just add here just in case… I live in Rome so this is what the Romans use:
    Che ti possino acciecare (This is the full and correct version) “Che ti possino acciecà” (This is how the Romans cut off verbs acciecare to acciecà “Che ti possino…” or Che ti possin’ah when they don’t finish the phrase.
    As you say it: Ke tee pawssino acheckah, Ke tee pawssin’ah
    Translated it is a curse but now used in a friendly manner and means May they blind you!

  112. Glenna Lee

    My dad used to day something like “gotta freega” mom used to tell him stop it. Just wondering.

  113. Michael

    My Grandmother used to tell me she would give me a (phonetical) Sceeyavaroombacha! Any suggestions ?

  114. Kelly

    Im looking to get a funny tattoo wrote in Italian, My father (who I have never met) is italian so I would like to have a bit of Italy in me if you get what I’m saying lol. Im female and can be loud sometimes i would like it to be a funny / rude saying as that’s me all over. Any ideas? X

  115. jo

    my friends are scicilian, my ancestors are from Naples, so some of the words they use are quite different. there is one that i cannot figure out. phonetically: Squa-jah-ta. Any ideas?

  116. Transient

    So… Im looking for a word that Northern Italians were called. There use to be a Sicilian old woman that lived next to us in Chicago that my Mother use to argue with all the time. My mother was Italian .. but she had Blond hair and Blue eyes. She said she was from Northern Italy . I barely remember the word the neighbor called my Mom, but it was something similar to “Nobbelly Gon” Something to that effect. I have looked in every Italian slang dictionary and cant find a thing like that. Anybody???

  117. Shannon

    My grandfather used to call me and my cousins a word when we were younger, phonetically it sounded like bed-a-be-qua. T grandfather has passed away and we have been trying to figure out the correct spelling and meaning. He was Sicilian if that helps! Thanks!

  118. Thomas

    Hi Shannon, I am not Sicilian but “bedda” is the sicilian for “bella” whicjh means “nice” or “beautiful”, it’s not uncommon to call a girl bella if you are in confidence with her. “qua” means “here”. For me the originale sentence in sicilian is “bedda vié qua”, in italian “bella vieni qua”, in english ” come here nice (girl)” or “come here beautiful”. Ciao ciao

  119. Tony Michael

    Do you know what is the Sicilian name that sounds phonetically like Cap-ah- show-tie. Name was used years ago by Italians who refered to these people in Sicily who were of a social low economic class. I would appeciate you input on them and their proper name spelling. Thank you. Tony

  120. Thomas

    Hi Tony. It really sounds like “capisciotti” or “capesciotti”, both spelling are used. But I am not sure it is sicilian, surely is a word quite common in central Italy. A “capesciotto” (singular) is a person who pretends to know everything about something, and is used in a disparaging way. I don’t think this word is related to the economy class. Ciao ciao

  121. rose mary

    I’m looking for the spelling of two words in Italian
    sounds like:
    mamaluke

    cahones

  122. rose mary

    transient-nobbelly gon sounds like it could be Napolitan

    tom-come si brutte does indeed mean how ugly, but in an endearing way, and faccia brutte is ugly face
    come si bella is how pretty or beautiful
    I love this site!!!!

  123. Judy

    My mother-in-laws relatives use to call her “squacho” which she believes to be a derogatory term. However, she doesn’t know exactly what it means. Does anyone have any idea?

  124. Tony

    My grandmother from Palermo used to say something like “ska-vee-uh” for when you didn’t wanna eat off somebody’s fork or drink from their glass. What’s that mean and how’s it spelled?

  125. Mike S

    My grandmother (now passed) used to speak of others that were dirty as “shkoobeeta’s”. Just wondering what the real word was because this was definitely some dialect.. I can’t find it anywhere online but I am pretty sure it means little slob? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  126. lindsay

    my great aunts use the word that sounds like “brugg-a-lattah” or “bruggy” for short… i think it means something along the lines of “slob” or “dumb person”. does anyone know what italian word i’m talking about?? thanks!!

  127. ibbunny

    So tickled that I found this website! I grew up in an Italian speaking household, and spoke Italian exclusively until I entered kindergarten, and Dad (Sicilian) and Mom (Bolognese) had many animated and interesting discussions revolving around Italian pronunciation, as I remember! Of course I absorbed it all. The funny thing is, pretty much all I remember are the swear words that they never wanted me to learn in the first place! Dad’s (and his dad’s) version of “vaffanculo” sounded like “va fangool”. Does anyone have experience with that pronunciation, or has my memory distorted it? Thanks for any feedback!

  128. Mare

    I was trying to find the meaning of a word my nana used to say. Phonetically it would be spelled “gah-bee-daw-suh”. Any guesses?

  129. Lindak

    My Nonna had many, many things to say, and not all of them so nice! The funniest thing she used to say was actually in broken English. When she was angry with us, for misbehaving, she would usually pick up a big knife or a big wooden spoon or some kind of threatening cooking-related weapon, ( just to scare us, of course) and yell. You sumanagun, I’ma gonnakiilyou! We would all laugh so hard and of course, she would end up laughing with us, with a silent belly laugh I can never forget. I miss her dearly.

  130. Tony

    Ciao, Mare. The word is “gabadost”. I believe that it is Neopolitan dialect , and it means hard headed (stubborn) – like testa durra.

  131. Danielle

    So, I’m hearing stories that my Nonno used to call me his little “shpinatz”. Supposedly it means little brat or little troublemaker. I’m trying to locate the real word. Does anyone know? He was from Santa guistina I think

  132. Spagnole

    Someone wrote ‘schivosa’ above. Schivo is ‘bashful or shy’. They probably meant to write SCHIFOSA (fem) or SCHIFOSO (masc) which means ‘disgusting’ or ‘filthy’. Very similar word in Castillian Spanish is “Asquerosa” and “Asqueroso”. I’ve found other pecularities between Northern Italian and Southern Italian.
    The hard “c” sound (for example in “capice?”) is pronounced like a “g” in the South (Sicily-’gabiche’). To the lst poster, Daniell about her Granddad calling her “shpinatz” that could be a southern corruption of some form of the word ‘spina’, which means ‘thorn’, ‘spinoso’ ‘thorny’. Just guessing. Things get corrupted from one region to the next, from one language to the other.

  133. 7obo

    LOL,
    “Fungoo” does not exist, It’s “fangu” (with last long “u”) and it’s strictly naples dialect and its translation in Italian is “fanculo” short version of “vaffanculo” that just means “Fuck you” (literally go-to(fuck)-butt\ass)

    va (to go, 2nd singular)
    a+f
    fan (do,make)
    culo (butt, intended as whole)

    It logically means: Go ejaculate in a butt instead of vagina=no progenie

    An exclamation full of hints!

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