Italian Word of the Day: Birbone (naughty / dirty / roguish)

There are three words I consistently use to describe my three-year-old son in Italian: birichino, monello and today’s word, birbone. birbone When birbone conveys the meaning dirty or underhanded, it almost always appears in the expression (giocare) un tiro birbone (to play a dirty trick). Mi hai giocato un tiro birbone. You played a dirty …

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Italian Word of the Day: Fango (mud)

When my son puts on his wellies, the first thing he does is look for a muddy puddle to jump into, just like his favourite character, Peppa Pig! The Italian word for mud is the fittingly sounding fango. It is derived from the Gothic term *fanigs, meaning muddy. Because it is a masculine noun, it …

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Italian Word of the Day: Mezzogiorno (noon / midday)

We already discussed mezzanotte (midnight) in a previous post, so now it’s time to take a look at the other end of the temporal spectrum, mezzogiorno (noon / midday). Mezzogiorno is the combination of the words mezzo (half or halfway) and giorno (day). It is a masculine noun, so it takes the following definite and …

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Italian Word of the Day: Gradasso (boaster / show-off)

Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando) and its sequel Orlando Inamorato (Orlando in Love) are two of the longest epic poems ever written in the Italian language. And they are packed with hundreds of characters, some of whom are so well-known and influential that their names have made their way into the Italian dictionary! One …

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Italian Word of the Day: Burro (butter)

What do Italians call that deliciously creamy substance we love to spread on toast in the morning? The answer is burro (butter)! burro butter Burro, derived from the Old French burre, traces its origins to the Latin butyrum and the Greek bṹtyron, a combination of bûs (cow) and tyrós (cheese) according to the Devoto-Oli Italian …

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Italian Word of the Day: Lavandino (sink / washbowl)

The word for a sink in Italian is lavandino. A word of northern origin, it is a derivative of the word lavanda meaning ‘wash‘ or ‘washing‘. lavandino It is a masculine noun, so it takes the following definite and indefinite articles: Oh no, il lavandino è intasato! Abbiamo uno sturalavandini? Oh no, the sink is …

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