If you can imagine a dog sinking its teeth into your favourite pair of shoes and refusing to let go no matter how hard you pull, you are already halfway to understanding the meaning of the adjective accanito!
Accanito itself derives from the word for dog in Italian, which is cane. It is used to describe people or things, like the aforementioned canine shoe thief, that are unrelenting in nature.
Because it can have either a positive or negative connotation, there are numerous possible translations for this word, including:
diehard, passionate, dogged, keen, tenacious
fierce, obstinate, stubborn, heated, violent, ruthless, relentless, inveterate
To get an idea of how accanito can be used in a sentence, take a look at the following example phrases:
Mario è un tifoso accanito della Juve.
Mario is a diehard Juve fan.
Mio zio è un fumatore accanito.
My uncle is a relentless smoker.
Il circuito di Le Mans è stato teatro di una lotta accanita tra i due piloti.
Le Mans’ racetrack was the scene of a fierce battle between the two drivers.
Given that accanito is an adjective, the ending changes for the feminine and plural forms.
- accanito = masculine, singular
- accanita = feminine, singular
- accaniti = masculine, plural
- accanite = feminine, plural
Related to accanito is the verb accanirsi which also has various meanings including:
- to pick on (someone)
- to throw oneself into (something)
- to rage (against something)
Il governo corrotto si è accanito contro il popolo.
The corrupt government persecuted the people.
Likewise, the noun accanimento can translate as rage, fury, doggedness or tenacity.