Italian Slang: M

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

Maccheronico

[makh-kair-RON-ikko] “Maccaroni-ish”. This is the term Italians themselves use for heavily Italianized and very poor English. Not rude, except to the person/discourse to whom you are applying it.

Madonna, Madonna Mia

[mah-DON-na MEE-a] My Madonna! A general exclamation of shock, can be used in polite company.

Mamma Mia

[MAHM-ma MEE-a] My mom! General exclamation of shock or consternation, similar to Madonna mia. Yes, it’s cliché, but it really is used in Italy.

Mandare all’inferno, a quel paese

[mahn-DAH-ray ahl in-FAIR-no, ah quell pah-AY-zay] To send to hell or to that place – to tell someone to go to hell. Inferno wouldn’t be considered particularly rude today, but mandare a quel paese survives as an alternative, a relic of when wishing someone to hell was very rude indeed.

You can also mandare a fare in culo (rude) or in bagno (polite).

Mannaggia

[mahn-NAHJ-jah] The word itself is very mild, equivalent to drat or darn. But it can be quite satisfying if you really spit it out.

Marpione

[mar-PYOH-nay] Skirt-chaser, a man constantly trying to seduce women. The term makes no judgement as to his eventual success. Related to furbo.

Menefreghista

[may-nay-fray-GHEES-ta] From me ne frego – Someone who doesn’t care.

Merda

[MARE-dah] noun – Shit, though not used nearly as often as in American English. Except in Siamo nella merda – “We’re in the shit.”

Mettere le Corna

[MET-ter-ray lay COR-na] To put horns on (someone else) – to (sexually) betray one’s spouse. Hence cornuto. Not particularly rude when used in this way, e.g. Non sa che sua moglie gli mette le corna con il macellaio – “He doesn’t know his wife is cheating on him with the butcher.” (I chose the butcher as an example, not because I know of any specific cases, but because butchers are popularly supposed to be getting a lot of it – dunno why, perhaps the proximity to all that meat?)

Mignotta

[mean-YOT-tah] Prostitute. Used in the exclamation Porca mignotta!

Minchia

[MINK-ya] Sicilian slang for penis. Used as an exclamation: Minchia!

Minchiata

[mink-YA-ta] A supremely stupid act. My favorite use of this is Montalbano’s Una solenne minchiata (a solemn supremely stupid act). See also cazzata.

Minne

[MIN-nay] Tits. I think this originates in Tuscan dialect.

Mi Va

[mee VAH] This is slangy but not particularly rude. Literally it means “it goes me,” (mi – reflexive pronoun for myself, va – from the verb andare, to go) but it’s used for “I like it” with a verb, as in Non mi va di… – “I don’t want to do… ” Also used for something else you do or don’t like: Mi andrebbe una bella bistecca stasera: “I’d really like a good steak this evening.”

12 thoughts on “Italian Slang: M

  1. dave

    the word in question is or sounds like “munja cake” can you please tell me the meening of this word I work with alot of italians and hear it quite often. thanks

  2. Bobby

    When working in Torino, one of my colleagues exclaimed what sounded like “Cosa Minke!” [KOH-sah MINK-ay]. I’m gussing that this a variant on “minchia” as described above. I know what the literal translation would be but what was he realyy trying to express? Mille Grazia.

  3. Richard

    Munja Cake or Caker is an expression adopted primarily in North America referring to non Italians. This expression or term was given, as the white bread eaten by Americans and Canadian was so unlike Italian bread that is coarse and crusty, that the Italians referred to the white bread as a cake. Hence, non Italians were caker eaters or simply Cakers.

  4. Marco

    Looking for translation for a word, that sounds like Ungatz (or perhaps oongatz) – might be Sicilian dialect but I’m not sure.

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