Italian Phrase of the Week: Ho fame! (I’m hungry!)

A very important phrase for all those who enjoy a hearty Italian meal is Ho fame! which in Italian means I’m hungry!

It is made up of two components: the first person conjugation of the verb avere (to have) and the noun fame which translates as famine or hunger.

Ho (I have) + fame (hunger)

IPA: /ɔ ˈfame/
i'm hungry in italian

In contrast to English, Italian often uses avere (to have) plus a noun instead of essere (to be) plus an adjective when describing feelings and sensations. Below are a few extremely common examples that follow the same pattern as ho fame:

  • Ho sete. (Literally: I have thirst.) = I am thirsty.
  • Ho sonno. (Literally: I have sleepiness.) = I am sleepy.
  • Ho caldo. (Literally: I have hotness.) = I am hot.
  • Ho freddo. (Literally: I have coldness.) = I am cold.
  • Ho paura. (Literally: I have fear.) = I am scared.
  • Ho fretta. (Literally: I have haste.) = I am in a hurry.

Some other more expressive ways of saying I’m hungry in Italian include:

  • Sto morendo di fame! = I’m dying of hunger!
  • Che fame che ho! = How hungry I am!
  • Sono affamato! = I’m starving!
  • Ho una fame da lupi! = I have the hunger of wolves!
  • Non ci vedo più dalla fame! = I can’t see from hunger!
Hungry girl waited for her food order and is ready to eat another hot pizza.

Something many Italian children say along with or in the place of ho fame is voglio la pappa. This literally means I want the food, with pappa being the word children and their parents tend to use for food or meals.

Ho fame, mamma. Voglio la pappa!

I’m hungry, mommy! I want to eat!

Ethics statement: Below you will find affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!

Lingopie (affiliate link) is the Netflix of language learning application that uses real TV shows and movies to help you learn a new language. You can choose a show to watch based on your fluency level, and use the interactive subtitles to get instant translations to help you learn quickly.

Are you interested in improving your Italian in a fun and stress-free manner? Then we highly recommend Serena Capilli's short stories in Italian (affiliate link), designed for beginners, advanced beginners, and lower intermediate learners (A1-B1 CEFR). These stories have been optimised for English speakers in search of a fun, laid-back learning experience! Read our full review here.

Leave a Comment