Italian Dictionary

Italian words and their definitions are scattered throughout this site, but up til now there has been no easy way to find them all. This page will begin to fix that. Click on a link to visit the page where a word or phrase is explained in more detail. Note: I am by no means a professional lexicalist (or whatever they’re called), so cannot claim 100% accuracy.

This site also includes a large and growing section devoted to Italian slang and swearwords. That’s already in alphabetical order, so those words are not reproduced here.

Work in progress!

A

apertura

asporto [ahs-POR-to] Take-away, as in food.

B

balena whale

bene well

bifolco [bee-FOAL-ko] peasant, yokel

bocca mouth

bocciare [BOTCH-char-re] to flunk (transitive)

bocciato/a [botch-CHA-to] flunked, rejected

botte barrel or cask

bucaneve [boo-ka-NAY-vay] crocus

buono good

C

cadere (past tense: caduto) to fall

cappello hat or cap

casino [cah-ZEEN-o] A mess.

chiasso [KYAS-soh] noise

comune [co-MOO-nay] municipality or municipal government

coperta [co-PAIR-ta] cover charge

D

demografico demographic, population

disagio [dizz-AHJ-oh] discomfort, inconvenience

G

gola, fare gola, goloso, golosita All words to do with appetite or gluttony.

guai [GWHY] troubles

Guardia di Finanza [GWAR-dee-ah dee fin-AHN-za] The police force who investigate tax evasion and other financial crimes.

L

lupo wolf

M

maccheronico [mah-care-ON-ik-o] “Macaroni-like”, i.e. heavily Italianized

manovratori [ma-no-vra-TOR-ee] maneuverers – (I think) the guys who shunt trains around in railyards

messinscena [mess-in-SHAY-na] an act meant to deceive

mettere to put

modestamente modestly

moglie wife

mortalità scolastica [mor-tal-i-TAH sco-LAS-ti-ca] school failure rate

N

notte night

nuvola cloud

O

occasione Occasion, but also a good deal.

orto vegetable garden

P

paese [pah-AY-zay] nation or hometown

pane bread

panetteria [pahn-net-tear-REE-a] bread bakery

peccato [PECK-kah-toe] Sin or shame.

piacere [pya-CHAIR-ay] to please, to be liked

piccolo small

pieno [PYAY-no] full. Can also be used as a noun at the gas station: Mi fa il pieno – “Fill ‘er up.”

popolo [POP-oh-lo] A people or the people, e.g. Piazza del Popolo – Plaza of the People

prossima next

R

rete [RAY-tay] a net or network, but la rete (THE network) refers specifically to the Internet

rosticceria [rohs-stitch-chair-REE-a] “roasting place” – A shop/restaurant selling hot foot to take away (though they may also have a few tables for you to eat there).

S

scontata discounted, taken for granted

sdrucciolo [ZDRU-cho-lo] adj., slippery. Also used in grammar to refer to words stressed not on the usual (for Italian) penultimate syllable but on the third from last – the word sdrucciolo itself is an example!

secchio bucket

secchione A swot, someone who studies a lot.

sensibilizzazione [sen-si-bil-IDZ-zazz-yo-nay] to make someone sensitive to or aware of something

serva [SAIR-vuh] maidservant (somewhat archaic, no one has a maidservant nowadays)

servizi services

sfumature shades of meaning

smarrire [zmah-REER-ay] to lose

supportare to support, put up with

T

tapparelle [tahp-pah-RELL-ay] roll-up window blinds

ti amo “I love you,” in cases of passionate, romantic love.

ti voglio bene Literally “I wish you well,” but means “I love you” among friends.

U

ubriaco drunk

V

vicolo [VEE-co-low] alley

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