Italian Word of the Day: Diamante (diamond)

The Italian word for diamond is diamante (masculine, plural: diamanti). Both the Italian and English words can be traced back to the Latin diamas, which in turn comes from the Greek adamans meaning ‘untameable‘ or ‘invincible‘.

/dia·màn·te/

Natural diamonds (diamanti naturali) are extracted from the depths of the Earth whereas synthetic diamonds (diamanti sintetici) are produced in a laboratory. No matter its origin, the diamond is the hardest mineral known to man, rating a value of 10 on the Mohs scale.

La regina indossava una splendida collana di diamanti.

The queen was wearing a gorgeous diamond necklace.


Because of its hardness, it is figuratively recognised as a symbol of strength or firmness. For example, you can say that someone who is strong and resolute has un carattere di diamante (lit: a diamond character) or is duro come un diamante (lit: as strong as a diamond).

Rose and diamond ring
Quanto costa questo anello con diamante? – How much is this diamond ring?

In both Italian and English, you can use the term diamond wedding anniversary (nozze di diamante) to refer to sixty years of marriage.

Other things that take the name diamante include the baseball diamond, the crown of an anchor, and the diamond tip.

If you refer to a product as being la punta di diamante (lit: the diamond point), you are implying that it is top-of-the-line, high-end or cutting edge. In reference to a person, some possible translations include shining star, world-class expert or go-to guy / girl.


Zucchero – Diamante

Diamante is a song written by the famous musician Zucchero. It is a tribute to his grandmother (nonna), whose first name was Diamante. The song depicts the rebirth of the Italian countryside after the end of the war.

Respirerò l’odore dei granai
Pace per chi ci sarà e per i fornai
Pioggia sarò, pioggia tu sarai
I miei occhi si schiariranno e fioriranno i nevai

Impareremo a camminare
Per mano insieme a camminare, domenica

Aspetterò che aprano i vinai
Più grande ti sembrerò e tu più grande sarai
Nuove distanze ci riavvicineranno
E dall’alto di un cielo, Diamante
I nostri occhi vedranno

Passare insieme soldati e spose
(dance in the dark)
Ballare piano in controluce
Moltiplicare la nostra voce

(sing in the dark)
Per mano insieme soldati e spose

domenica

Passare insieme soldati e spose
(dance in the dark)
Ballare piano in controluce
Moltiplicare la nostra voce

(sing in the dark)
Passare in pace soldati e spose, domenica

“Delmo, Delmo vin a’ ca… Delmo”*

I’ll breathe the smell of granaries
Peace for those who will be there and for the bakers
I’ll be rain, and you’ll be rain
My eyes will lighten and snowfields will blossom

We will learn to walk
Hand in hand together walking,
Sunday

I will wait for the vintners to open
I’ll look older to you and older you’ll be
New distances will bring us closer
And from the height of a sky, Diamante
Our eyes will see

Soldiers and wives walking together
(dance in the dark)
Dancing slowly in backlight
To multiply our voice

(sing in the dark)
Hand in hand together soldiers and wives
Sunday

Soldiers and wives walking together
(dance in the dark)
Dancing slowly in backlight

To multiply our voice

(sing in the dark)
Walking in peace soldiers and wives

Sunday

Delmo, Delmo, come home… Delmo*

*Note: Delmo is short for Adelmo, Zucchero’s first name. The last phrase represents Zucchero’s grandmother calling him. Vin a’ ca… is the dialectal version for Vieni a casa (come home).

There is also an English version of this song in which Zucchero does a duet with Randy Crawford. The English lyrics are completely different from the Italian lyrics.

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