Italian Word of the Day: Divertente (fun / amusing / entertaining)

If you’re acquainted with the English words diverting and diversion, recalling the Italian word for ‘fun‘ or ‘entertaining‘ shouldn’t be too challenging – it’s divertente.

/di·ver·tèn·te/ – [diverˈtɛnte]
italian word divertente

It is the present participle of the verb divertire, meaning ‘to amuse‘ or ‘to entertain‘ but also ‘to have fun‘ in its reflexive form divertirsi (literally “to amuse oneself“). Divertire, in turn, comes from the Latin divertĕre, which means ‘to turn aside‘.

When it modifies a plural noun, divertente becomes divertenti as you can see from the examples below:

  • il film divertente = the entertaining film
  • la storia divertente = the entertaining story
  • i film divertenti = the entertaining films
  • le storie divertenti = the entertaining stories

Questo libro è molto divertente.

This book is very entertaining.

Voglio fare qualcosa di divertente stasera.

I want to do something fun tonight.

By extension, divertente has also taken on the meaning of bizarre or funny, as in un vestito divertente (a bizarre dress). What’s more, Italians often use divertente to describe someone who makes them laugh and is fun to be around. This tendency explains why Italians, when speaking English, frequently interchange the words ‘fun‘ and ‘funny,’ mistakenly considering them as synonyms.

Mamma mia, sei troppo divertente!

Oh my gosh, you’re so funny / so much fun!
(literally “you’re too funny”)

Mi ha raccontato una barzelletta molto divertente.

He told me a very funny joke.

Young students friends having fun and laughing together in the city

While we’re here, we might as well mention the opposite of divertente, which is noioso (boring). It can be traced back to the late Latin inodiosus, a derivative of odium meaning ‘hate’.

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