Italian Word of the Day: Formicolio (swarm / pins and needles)

Formicolio is the word in Italian for both swarm and pins and needles. Being a masculine noun, it takes the following definite and indefinite articles: Before we attempt to explain the two very different meanings associated with this word, it is important to touch briefly upon its etymology. Formicolio can be traced back to the …

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Italian Word of the Day: Francobollo (postage stamp)

Italian word for stamp

When I was young, one of my favourite pastimes was flipping through my father’s vast collection of postage stamps, among which was the prized Penny Black, the world’s first adhesive stamp. The word for postage stamp in Italian is francobollo. Being a masculine noun, it takes the following definite and indefinite articles. il francobollo = …

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Italian Word of the Day: Rugiada (dew)

Italian word for dew, rugiada

An Italian word that sounds as lovely as the thing it indicates is rugiada, which means dew. It is thought to have entered the language from the Latin ros via the Gallo-Italic rosada. Rugiada is a feminine noun whose plural form is rugiade. (Note, however, that the plural form is used far less than the …

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Italian Word of the Day: Città (city / town)

The word for a city in Italian is città. It is derived from the Latin civitatem, a derivative of civis meaning “citizen“. It generally refers to any human settlement of considerable size with streets, public services, and a local administration. Because it is an invariable feminine noun, the plural form is the same as the …

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Italian Word of the Day: Perdigiorno (slacker)

Do you know someone who sits around all day doing nothing? Then you could call him or her a perdigiorno in Italian! Perdigiorno, which is an invariable noun made up of the words perdere (to lose / to miss / to waste) and giorno (day), is used to describe both men and women who avoid …

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Italian Word of the Day: Automobile (car)

Automobile is one of many terms for car in Italian. Like its English cognate, it entered the language via the French automobile, which comprises two words: auto (‘self’) and mobile (‘mobile’). Being a feminine noun that begins with a vowel, it takes the following definite and indefinite articles: l’automobile = the car / automobile le …

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