Italian Word of the Day: Merenda (afternoon snack)

In Italy, in addition to the three main meals – colazione (breakfast), pranzo (lunch) and cena (dinner) – there is a fourth that occurs between lunch and dinner called merenda. Like most words in Italian, merenda derives from the late Latin merere (to deserve), and literally means “things you have to deserve”. /me·rèn·da/ Merenda is …

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Italian Word of the Day: Zanzara (mosquito)

The Italian word for that pesky insect whose high-pitched buzzing is enough to drive even the most patient of people to the brink of madness is zanzara (mosquito). It comes from the late Latin zinzala which has onomatopoeic origins. /ẓan·ẓà·ra/ Zanzara is a feminine noun, so it takes the following definite and indefinite articles: la …

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Top 100 Most Common Words in Italian

As in all languages, some words appear more frequently than others in Italian. This happens because in everyday life we tend to repeat the same words over and over again, simplifying our speech and making it more accessible to the listener. This also facilitates the study of a new language, as even a small vocabulary …

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40 Important Italian Words to Use at Thanksgiving

When I first moved to Turin many years ago, I was surprised to discover that not only is Thanksgiving not celebrated in Italy, but also that many Italians have never even heard of the national American holiday. (Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have been so shocked since the celebration is based on the 1621 harvest …

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Italian Pronunciation Challenge: C / CH / CC

Although Italian has gained the reputation of being a “phonetic language” – meaning that there is a direct relationship between the spelling and sounds – there are a few pesky letters that aren’t always pronounced in the same way. One such letter is C. In today’s article, we’re going to discover the different ways in …

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15 Famous Expressions in Italian

The idioms are common in all languages, and each is inextricably linked to the language itself and the culture of the country from which it originates. This means that Italian expressions are not the same as those in English. In fact, when one has to translate a common saying from one language to the other, …

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