10 Borrowed English Words in the Italian Language

We are all well aware that English is abound with words of Italian origin but did you know that Italian regularly borrows from English as well?

Italian has a long history of incorporating foreign words into its vocabulary but it is only in recent years that the amount of English vocabulary entering Italian has exploded. Some words depict new concepts such as selfie and sitcom whereas others have somehow succeeded in replacing the Italian equivalent such as meeting and weekend. And quite often, the original English meaning is partially or completely lost in translation!

Love it or hate it, it looks as if English vocabulary in Italian is here to stay. In this article, we take a look at ten of the most common loanwords you’ll encounter, all of which have a different meaning to the original English word.

borrowed english words in italian

1. Toast

English meaning: a toasted slice of bread
Italian meaning: a toasted sandwich with ham and cheese

Ho mangiato solo un toast a pranzo e adesso sono affamato.

I only ate a toasted sandwich for lunch and now I’m starving.

grilled ham and cheese sandwich

2. Fiction

English meaning: literature that describes imaginary people, places and events
Italian meaning: a drama or TV series

La sceneggiatura della fiction è tratta da un romanzo.

The script of the TV series is based upon a novel.

lady watching tv

3. Baby parking / Baby park

English meaning: the combination of these two words doesn’t exist
Italian meaning: a supervised play area where parents can leave their children while they shop

Ho lasciato mio figlio al baby park mentre facevo la spesa.

I left my son at the supervised play area while I went grocery shopping.

Beautiful mother and daughter having fun playing in a playroom

4. Feeling

English meaning: an emotional state or reaction; an idea or belief
Italian meaning: chemistry between two people

Non c’è molto feeling tra di noi.

There isn’t much chemistry between us.

Happy multiracial senior couple smiling on camera outdoor

5. Beauty

English meaning: a combination of qualities that is pleasing to the eye
Italian meaning: cosmetic bag, toiletry bag

Ho messo il dentifricio dentro il beauty.

I put the toothpaste inside the cosmetic bag.

Green leather cosmetic bag and natural cosmetics on white marble background

6. Fashion

English meaning: the latest and most popular style of clothing, hair or behaviour
Italian meaning: to be fashionable, chic, trendy

Wow, come sei fashion!

Wow, you’re so fashionable!

Portrait of fashionable woman wearing mirrored sunglasses

7. Box

English meaning: a square or rectangular container with a flat base and sides
Italian meaning: a garage for a car, stall for horses, playpen, shower box

Ho bisogno di un box in affitto per la mia moto.

I need a rented garage for my motorcycle.

Lovely street with garages with colorful gates

8. Reality

English meaning: the state of things as they actually exist
Italian meaning: a reality TV show

Non mi piace guardare i reality, sono così stupidi.

I don’t like watching reality TV shows, they’re so stupid.

Shocked interracial couple watching tragic news on TV while sitting together at home on couch. Worried young people reacting to thriller movie on television program while sitting in living room

9. Shopping

English meaning: the act of buying goods from shops (food, clothes, etc.), the actual goods bought from a shop
Italian meaning: the act of shopping specifically for clothes and personal items

Melissa adora fare lo shopping con la sua migliore amica.

Melissa loves to go shopping with her best friend.

Young woman talking on phone after shopping in boutiques, walking outdoors

10. Slip

English meaning: a loose-fitting garment, typically a short petticoat
Italian meaning: men or women’s underpants

Ho bisogno di comprare dei slip nuovi. Quelli che ho sono tutti bucati.

I need to buy new underpants. The ones I’ve got have holes in them.

Concept of women's clothes with panties on yellow background
borrowed english words in italian

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