Italian Slang: A

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

Accidente, un

[ah-chee-DEN-tay] A darn thing, usually used in the negative, as in Non mi ricordo un’accidente – I don’t recall a thing. In normal useage, an accident (as with a car) is un incidente.

QT adds: Ti venisse un accidente – “May you have an accident,” an ill-wish which apparently refers more to serious illness (heart attack, stroke, etc.).

Accidenti

[ah-chee-DEN-ti] A mild expletive, in a league with drat, darn, heck.

Apprezzamento

[ah-pretz-a-MEN-toe] Not a rude word, this translates roughly as “appreciation” or “comment”, but it’s used most often in apprezzamenti pesanti (pesanti = “heavy”) for the kind of “appreciative” comment made to a woman that would cause her husband, boyfriend, etc., to react angrily. Such comments are often followed, in the news reports, by violence.

Arrapare

[ar-ra-PAR-ray] To become sexually excited.

3girls

The graffiti scribbled on this poster says: “Would you get hot (ti arraparesti) if this girl was your daughter? – This is too much. – www.cracra.org”

Attaccabottoni

[ah-TAHK-ka-bot-TONE-ee] Literally a “stick-to-buttons”. A long-winded bore. Someone who “grabs you by the lapel” and won’t let go. This term is not particularly rude, except to the person to whom you apply it!

Italian Slang and Swearwords

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

Introduction to Italian Slang

If you’re planning to live or travel in Italy, you might find it helpful to know what people are saying – much of which is not in polite phrasebooks! And sometimes it helps to be able to fire a few juicy phrases of your own. Select a letter above to go to the page of Italian swearwords starting with that letter.

  • Subject to revision whenever the mood strikes me. If you have something you’d like to add or suggest or comment on, go here (where you can also see what others have suggested).
  • Most of this usage is not for polite company. For milder slang and idiom, see this page.
  • I live(d) in northern Italy, so the usage described here may be specific to northern Italy, particularly Milan and Lombardy, unless otherwise noted. Your mileage may vary. I left Italy in 2008, so my usage here may not be up to date, though some of these words and phrases are… timeless.
  • Here’s a video of some common Italian hand gestures (many of them rude, along with pronunciation of some of the phrases below).
  • Giovanna & Angiolino: a pop song (yes, it’s relevant)

A Note on Blasphemy

Some of these words and phrases fall into the category of bestemmie (blasphemy): taking the Lord’s (or Jesus’ or Mary’s) name in vain. Be aware that these may be considered particularly offensive by some people.

Other rude words are simply called parolacce – “bad words.”