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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Italian Word of the Day: Fischio (whistle)

cover image with the word “fischio” and a blonde lifeguard in the pool whistling in the background

The word fischio in Italian refers to any kind of high-pitched sound emitted by blowing through the teeth and lips, in addition to a similar range of sounds emitted by birds, animals or objects. Generally we’d translate this word as whistle, but other possible translations include hiss, call, cry, or whizz. Fischio is a masculine …

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Italian Word of the Day: Giugno (June)

June, or giugno in Italian, is the month that marks the beginning of the middle of the year and the beginning of l’estate (summer). Thanks to the longer days and warm temperatures, it is a wonderful time to visit Italy if you enjoy spending time on the beach, swimming, and hiking in the mountains. Giugno …

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Italian Word of the Day: Grinta (grit / determination / scowl)

cover image with the word “grinta” and a boxer in the background

A person with a lot of courage and resolve can be described using the noun grinta in Italian. The closest equivalents are grit or determination in English, although other translations such as fighting spirit and drive may also work depending on the context. Unlike the vast majority of words in Italian, grinta derives, not from …

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Italian Word of the Day: Pigiama (pyjamas)

cover image with the word “pigiama” and a a woman wearing a yellow pyjamas in the background

The Italian word for the loose-fitting garments we wear to bed is pigiama. It entered the language via English, but can be traced back to the Urdu and Persian words pāy (leg) + jāma (clothing). In English, we use the plural pyjamas to talk about a single pair of pyjamas, whereas Italian has a singular …

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Italian Word of the Day: Coccinella (ladybug / ladybird)

cover image with the word “coccinella” and a ladybug in the background

Coccinella is the word for ladybug (US) or ladybird (UK) in Italian. It derives from the Latin coccinus, which in turn comes from the Greek kókkinos, meaning ‘scarlet red colour’. It is a feminine noun whose plural form is coccinelle. The definite and indefinite articles it takes are as follows: la coccinellathe ladybuguna coccinellaa ladybug …

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