Italian Slang: S

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

Sacco, Un

“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.

Sballo

[ZBALL-oh] A state of being high, whether on drugs or alcohol.

Sboro

[zBOR-oh] Used in Iesolo (Veneto) to describe something boring. Does not seem to be related to sborra.

Sborra, Sborrare

[zBOR-ra, zBOR-rar-ray] Sperm, to come (usually for a man).


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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.

Scatole

[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!

Scemo

[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.

Schifo

[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.

Schifoso

[skee-FOH-zoh] Disgusting.

Sciupafemmine

[SHOO-pah-fem-min-nay] A Don Giovanni, Casanova, playboy, seducer – one who wears out or uses up or ruins (sciupare) women. Not rude.

Sclerare

[SCLAIR-ar-ay] In non-slang use this is a medical term, in slang it’s used something like “busting a blood vessel”.

Scocciare

[SCOTCH-are-ay] To irritate, annoy. Slangy but not particularly rude.

Scopare

[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.

Seccare

[sec-CAR-ay] Literally “to dry,” but used as “to annoy.” Slangy but not particularly rude.

Seccatura

[sec-ca-TOO-ra] Derived from seccare: an irritation or annoyance.

Sega

[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.

Senso

[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.

Sfiga

[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.

Sgamare

[zgah-MA-ray] To catch out doing something you shouldn’t. Tua mamma m’ha sgamata – “Your mom caught me.” Not particularly rude.

Smerdato/a

[zmare-DAH-to] Beshat.

Spinello

[spin-ELL-oh] Another word for joint. See also canna.

Starci

[STAR-chee] Literally, to “stay at”. To play the game, to go along with, to… be willing to be seduced.

Stronzo

[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.

Svarione

[zvah-ree-OH-nay] A big (stoner) trip. Hence svarionato – way stoned.

23 thoughts on “Italian Slang: S

  1. dominick g

    Hello,when someone calls you sfachime,unknown if correct spelling,does it mean sperm in sicillian?

  2. dodeo

    “Sfaccimm” is Neapolitan, I think it refers to dick but it’s also an insult (not sure, I’m not from Naples).

    Sfigato/sfigata also refers to a loser/nerd/geek.

  3. Josh Molay

    hi- what about “Sciuazziole”? Also, moulingan is used in NY, but I can’t find it in Italian. Supposedly it’s another word for “melanzane”, perhaps a southern dialect?

  4. Mike B

    Gents, I can help you out on the last two posts. Stu cazzo is the correct spelling & is dick related for sure. It has been in my vocabulary as long as I cam remember. I was in San Benedetto del Tronto in Marche visiting friends and got straightened out on a few things in the slang department. Forget about the New York Pronunciation. Definitely spelled melanzane & I think that’ll translate up to Veneto if not further north.

  5. Cedro

    Found this site randomly, very amusing. So, random input: I grew up in Roma where they use “sorca” (sometimes pronounced more like sciorca) to alternatively mean “big rat” and “good pussy,” at least among relatively young people.

  6. dylan connor

    what does “com’e siti nyah” mean?
    thanks 🙂 i can’t find nyah anywhere on the net.

  7. Vincent Panettiere

    can anyone tell me the meaning of and spelling of the
    word – this is how I hear it – stunatz?

    Meaning, I think, schmuck, stupid, etc
    Thank you

  8. jack

    After watching The Borgias, I thought schifoso came from scaforsa,and it meant impotent. Is there Italian slang for impotent?

  9. Zayn Russo

    Hi, for “Josh Moulay” who asked about “mulignana” it is a slang term for “eggplant” (melenzana). When used in slang form it almost always means a black person. The Italian equivalent of the “n” word.

  10. Adrienne

    Hello all, Actually, Malongane is a town in Mozambique, Africa… and I believe that is the source of the crossover to melenzane. My Great-Grandparents actually would use Malongane (Nona’s pronounciation was more like ‘malongiane’ heavy on the malo… there was no such thing as politically correct back then… ) to refer to people of African descent, but Melanzane (when not referring to the actual vegetable) for dark skinned Italians or Sicilians. Very similar sounding when spoken quickly! I learned to decipher the intended meaning from their facial expressions. Was very confusing when I was young LOL. 🙂

  11. kristy

    What does Scopilo mean? My cousin is from Sicily and when she gets mad or somethig she says Scopilo a lot….never knew what it meant tho..

  12. Laura

    I’m tryin to figure out the correct spelling to the slang for lazy in Italian…. “Shfadegad” ??? My family is from Naples.

  13. paulpaver

    Scasa di mink- don’t know if spelling is correct but means “suck my dick” also pappa Gallo means parrot but slang for girl watcher. All Sicilian.

  14. Jane

    I just heard La Zanzara (Guiseppe Cruciani) say on his radio show (out of Milan) “sbatti i coglioni”. He was speaking too fast for me to make out the rest of the sentence, but that bit stood out.

    My dictionary gives sbattere as meaning “slam, bang, beat” and sbattitore is defined as “hand mixer.” Coglioni is of course “balls”. So would “sbatti i coglioni” be a variant on “bust [my / your / his] balls?

  15. Dave Smith

    I was watching a clip from The Sopranos when Tony and Artie Bucco were eating in Artie’s restaurant and Tony was pissed over some kid wearing his hat in the restaurant. Tony said, “svachine”, or “sfachine” . I probably haven’t spelled it correctly, but that is what it sounded like. Anyone know what it might mean?

  16. Annette Rhoads

    My mother used to say striva (witches?) maloik (evil eye) and statazit (shut up). Am I correct on translation?

  17. Emma

    Hi Can anyone tell me what SOTSA or SOTZA means please? sorry im not sure how it’s spelt

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