“A bag, a sackful” – used for “a lot.” Slangy but not rude. Mi piace un sacco – “I like him/her/it a lot.” Carlo Verdone made a film some years ago in which a stoner character (played by himself) constantly referred to everything as un sacco bello – “really great!” or “really gorgeous!” – but I’ve never heard anyone in real life say this.
[ZBALL-oh] A state of being high, whether on drugs or alcohol.
[zBOR-oh] Used in Iesolo (Veneto) to describe something boring. Does not seem to be related to sborra.
[zBOR-ra, zBOR-rar-ray] Sperm, to come (usually for a man).
Scappare, Mi Scappa
[scahp-PAR-ray, mee SCAHP-pa] Literally to escape, but used in the sense of Mi scappa la pipi’ – “My pee is escaping (I have to pee).” Can be taken to a further metaphorical level for other activities: Se proprio ti scappa di… (“If you really have to do x”). This is not rude, though perhaps a bit childish.
[SCAH-toh-lay] Literally “boxes,” but used for balls. Non rompere le scatole – “don’t bust the balls” (don’t be a pain). In polite company, reduce this phrase to Non rompere!
[SHAME-oh] Idiot. Not quite as bad as coglione, but definitely an insult. Unless you say of yourself: Sto diventando scemo/a – “I’m becoming stupid,” that is “I’m driving myself crazy”, usually trying to do something frustrating.
[SKEE-foh] Disgust, grossness. Most commonly used in Che schifo! – “Ew! Gross!” – or Mi fa schifo – “It grosses me out.” In very wide useage, though considered rude by the older generation. But this wasn’t always the case. Some nobleman centuries ago named his country villa Schifanoia, which sounds funny today, but probably derives from an older useage of schifare as a verb meaning “to repel”: the villa repels noia – boredom.
[SHOO-pah-fem-min-nay] A Don Giovanni, Casanova, playboy, seducer – one who wears out or uses up or ruins (sciupare) women. Not rude.
[SCLAIR-ar-ay] In non-slang use this is a medical term, in slang it’s used something like “busting a blood vessel”.
[SCOTCH-are-ay] To irritate, annoy. Slangy but not particularly rude.
[sco-PAR-eh] Literally, “to sweep” (as in with a broom – scopa), but also “to fuck”. Therefore, if you’re off to sweep the floor, you should probably not announce your intentions: Vado a scopare. Someone is likely to respond: Divertiti! (Have fun!)
Scopa is also the name of a popular card game.
[sec-CAR-ay] Literally “to dry,” but used as “to annoy.” Slangy but not particularly rude.
[sec-ca-TOO-ra] Derived from seccare: an irritation or annoyance.
[SAY-gah] Literally a saw (the tool used to cut wood), but metaphorically, farsi una sega (“give oneself a saw”) is to masturbate, I assume because of the similarity of motion. Seghe mentali – mental masturbation – refers to useless, time-wasting mental effort.
[SEN-so] It means “sense” as in “to make sense.” But watch out: a very common mistake among English-speakers learning Italian is to say Fa senso, when they intend: “It makes sense.” But fare senso actually means to disgust, equivalent to fare schifo (see above). If you want to say something makes sense, use avere [have] senso.
[SFEE-gah] Adding s to the front of a word makes it the opposite of its original meaning. Hence, by some twisted logic, figa = cunt, sfiga = bad luck (a lack of cunt is a bad thing, I suppose).
- Porta sfiga: Brings (carries) bad luck.
- Sfigato/sfigata/sfigati: (He/she/they) are unlucky.
[zgah-MA-ray] To catch out doing something you shouldn’t. Tua mamma m’ha sgamata – “Your mom caught me.” Not particularly rude.
[spin-ELL-oh] Another word for joint. See also canna.
[STAR-chee] Literally, to “stay at”. To play the game, to go along with, to… be willing to be seduced.
[STRON-zoh] Literally “turd”, but usually used of someone who’s a real bastard. There’s also a female form, stronza, which can only be used in this sense.
[zvah-ree-OH-nay] A big (stoner) trip. Hence svarionato – way stoned.