Italian Word of the Day: Dolciastro (sickly sweet / cloying)

The adjective dolciastro, which derives from the more commonly known adjective dolce (sweet), refers to anything that is sweet in flavour, but not pleasant. Some possible translations include sickly sweet or cloying.

/dol·cià·stro/ – [dolˈtʃastro]
Italian word 'dolciastro'

Adjectives such as dolciastro always agree with the noun they describe, which means that they have to demonstrate whether they are masculine, feminine, singular or plural. This is achieved by changing the ending of the adjective. For example:

  • il vino dolciastro = the sickly sweet wine
  • la torta dolciastra = the sickly sweet cake
  • i vini dolciastri = the sickly sweet wines
  • le torte dolciastre = the sickly sweet cakes

La minestra ha un sapore dolciastro.

The soup has a sickly sweet flavour.

Pink cake
Una torta dolciastra = A sickly sweet cake

Similar to its English equivalents, dolciastro can also be used figuratively to describe a person’s character or their mannerisms.

“Buonasera” disse l’uomo, con una voce dolciastra.

“Good evening,” the man said, in a sickly sweet voice.

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