Italian Word of the Day: Addobbo (decoration / ornament)

The Italian word for the ornaments we hang on the tree at Christmastime is addobbo (or more specifically addobbo natalizio), derived from the verb addobbare, meaning “to adorn, decorate, or deck out.”

/ad·dòb·bo/ – [adˈdɔbbo]
Italian word 'addobbo'

Because it is a masculine noun beginning with a vowel, it takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

  • l’addobbo = the decoration / ornament
  • gli addobbi = the decorations / ornaments
  • un addobbo = a decoration / ornament
  • degli addobbi = (some) decorations / ornaments

Another word for ornament or decoration in Italian is the feminine noun decorazione (plural decorazioni). When talking about Christmas ornaments, you can use these two terms more or less interchangeably.

Happy girl trying to put red decorative star on top of Christmas tree while decorating it
Quanti addobbi che ci sono sull’albero! = There are so many decorations on the tree!

While the verb addobbare means “to decorate” or “to adorn“, the reflexive addobbarsi means “to adorn oneself” or “to dress up” in a lavish way.

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