In Italian, a positive way to describe a person or an action is by using the adjective 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.
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.
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
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.