Italian Word of the Day: Carino (nice / pretty)

In Italian, a positive way to describe a person or an action is by using the adjective carino.

/ca·rì·no/ – [kaˈrino]
italian word carino

Carino is the diminutive form of caro, which translates to dear. It can be used in its masculine form, carino, feminine form, carina, or in their respective plural forms, carini and carine.

When referring to a deed or gesture, the most common translation is nice, kind or lovely.

È stato un gesto carino da parte sua.

It was a kind gesture on his part.

Luisa è sempre stata molto carina con me.

Luisa has always been kind to me.

Young attractive curly man with beard and brown kind eyes sitting by the window, holding female hand and looking at her dearly, wearing white shirt
È molto carino con me. = He’s very kind to me.

When describing a person’s physical appearance in Italian, the translation can vary. It is often rendered as cute, especially when referring to children or young men, and pretty when referring to girls.

Ma com’è carino quel bambino. Come si chiama?

That little boy is so cute. What’s his name?

Trovo che la ragazza di Mauro sia molto carina.

I find Mauro’s girlfriend very pretty.

Cute smiling little boy clings to his mother legs, with pleasure spending time together outdoors, happy family life
Un bambino carino = A cute kid

It can also be used to describe animals, locations, and objects. For instance, un gatto carino would mean a cute cat, while una casa carina would be a pretty house. When used for objects, it can convey meanings like amusing or enjoyable, as in un film carino for an enjoyable film.

An exclamation you’ll often hear in Italian is Ma che carino/a! This is equivalent to English expressions like Aw, that’s so sweet! or Aw, that’s so cute! Additionally, you might hear a simpler form like carino/a, followed by the noun in question, as in Carina questa canzone! which translates to This song is nice! (or literally “Nice this song!“)

Here are some common synonyms for carino:

  • gentile = kind
  • grazioso = pretty, refined
  • piacevole = pleasant
  • divertente = fun

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