The Italian noun clima means climate. Its origin can be traced back to the late Latin climate-ătis, from the Greek klíma -atos. The term originally denoted a zone of the earth between two lines of latitude, but later began to refer to a region as defined by its atmospheric conditions.
Although clima ends in the letter -a, which generally indicates a feminine noun, don’t be deceived: it is actually masculine! Here are the definite and indefinite articles it takes:
- il clima = the climate
- i climi = the climates
- un clima = a climate
- (dei) climi = (some) climates
Com’è il clima in Giappone?
What’s the climate like in Japan?
Il clima differs from il tempo (the weather) in that the latter denotes short-term changes in atmospheric conditions, whereas the former describes what the weather is like over a long period of time in a specific area.
Here are some different kinds of climates with which you’ll be familiar:
- un clima mite / temperato = a mild / temperate climate
- un clima umido = a humid climate
- un clima tropicale = a tropical climate
- un clima marittimo = a maritime climate
- un clima freddo = a cold climate
- un clima alpino = an alpine climate
From clima we get the adjective climatico, which is famously used in the expressions cambiamento climatico (climate change) and surriscaldamento climatico (global warming or literally “climatic overheating”). It can be translated as either climate or climatic depending on the context.
A figurative meaning for clima is climate or atmosphere when used in reference to the overriding mood or spirit of a place or group of people. For example, un clima accogliente translates as a welcoming atmosphere.
Il clima politico è in fermento. Tra poco ci sono le elezioni.
The political climate is in turmoil. The elections will be held soon.
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.