Italian Word of the Day: Cascamorto (flirt / ladies’ man)

Today, let’s delve into the world of cascamorto — a term for a bold man who takes on the role of a lovesick Romeo, employing overly sentimental and assertive tactics to win someone over. Typically, a cascamorto‘s actions lack genuine affection, driven instead by hidden motives for a romantic escapade.


ladies’ man / flirt

/ca·sca·mòr·to/ – [kaskaˈmɔrto]
italian word cascamorto

The term is a fusion of two words: “cascare” (to fall) and “morto” (dead), and it comes from the idiom cascare morto which literally means ‘to drop dead‘. It is meant to conjure the image of a man grovelling soppily at the feet of his intended love interest.

You can expect to see it in the expression fare il cascamorto con qualcuno which means “to flirt with someone in a nauseating way” or “to hit on someone“.

In ufficio, Mario fa il cascamorto con tutte le sue colleghe.

In the office, Mario hits on all his female colleagues.

Here are the definite and indefinite articles used with this word. Note that the feminine cascamorta exists but is rarely used.

  • il cascamorto
  • un cascamorto
  • i cascamorti
  • dei cascamorti
  • la cascamorta
  • una cascamorta
  • le cascamorte
  • delle cascamorte
Businessman flirting with young woman sitting with cocktail at the bar

The term is most notably featured in the movie “Miseria e nobiltà” (Misery and nobility) where Totò’s wife remarks:

Però ricordati che non devi fare il cascamorto!
(But remember, you mustn’t do the ‘cascamorto’!)

To this he responds with the famous line:

Eh Luisella, io se casco, casco morto dalla fame!
(Well Luisella, if I fall, I’ll fall dead from hunger.)

Some possible synonyms for cascamorto include corteggiatore (suitor / admiror), dongiovanni (Don Juan), spasimante (beau), casanova, playboy, and cicisbeo (gallant / ladies’ man).

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