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 toÂ Italian slang and swearwords. That’s already in alphabetical order, so those words are not reproduced here.
Work in progress!
asportoÂ [ahs-POR-to] Take-away, as in food.
bifolcoÂ [bee-FOAL-ko] peasant, yokel
bocciareÂ [BOTCH-char-re] to flunk (transitive)
bocciato/aÂ [botch-CHA-to] flunked, rejected
botteÂ barrel or cask
bucaneveÂ [boo-ka-NAY-vay] crocus
cadereÂ (past tense:Â caduto) to fall
cappelloÂ hat or cap
casinoÂ [cah-ZEEN-o] A mess.
chiassoÂ [KYAS-soh] noise
comuneÂ [co-MOO-nay] municipality or municipal government
copertaÂ [co-PAIR-ta] cover charge
demograficoÂ demographic, population
disagioÂ [dizz-AHJ-oh] discomfort, inconvenience
gola, fare gola, goloso, golosita‘Â All words to do with appetite or gluttony.
guaiÂ [GWHY] troubles
Guardia di FinanzaÂ [GWAR-dee-ah dee fin-AHN-za] The police force who investigate tax evasion and other financial crimes.
maccheronicoÂ [mah-care-ON-ik-o] “Macaroni-like”, i.e. heavily Italianized
manovratoriÂ [ma-no-vra-TOR-ee] maneuverers – (I think) the guys who shunt trains around in railyards
messinscenaÂ [mess-in-SHAY-na] an act meant to deceive
mettereÂ to put
mortalitÃ scolasticaÂ [mor-tal-i-TAH sco-LAS-ti-ca] school failure rate
occasioneÂ Occasion, but also a good deal.
ortoÂ vegetable garden
paeseÂ [pah-AY-zay] nation or hometown
panetteriaÂ [pahn-net-tear-REE-a] bread bakery
peccatoÂ [PECK-kah-toe] Sin or shame.
piacereÂ [pya-CHAIR-ay] to please, to be liked
pienoÂ [PYAY-no] full. Can also be used as a noun at the gas station:Â Mi fa il pienoÂ – “Fill ‘er up.”
popoloÂ [POP-oh-lo] A people or the people, e.g. Piazza del Popolo – Plaza of the People
reteÂ [RAY-tay] a net or network, butÂ la reteÂ (THE network) refers specifically to the Internet
rosticceriaÂ [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).
scontataÂ discounted, taken for granted
sdruccioloÂ [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 wordÂ sdruccioloÂ itself is an example!
secchioneÂ A swot, someone who studies a lot.
sensibilizzazioneÂ [sen-si-bil-IDZ-zazz-yo-nay] to make someone sensitive to or aware of something
servaÂ [SAIR-vuh] maidservant (somewhat archaic, no one has a maidservant nowadays)
sfumatureÂ shades of meaning
smarrireÂ [zmah-REER-ay] to lose
supportareÂ to support, put up with
tapparelleÂ [tahp-pah-RELL-ay] roll-up window blinds
ti amoÂ “I love you,” in cases of passionate, romantic love.
ti voglio beneÂ Literally “I wish you well,” but means “I love you” among friends.
vicoloÂ [VEE-co-low] alley