Italian Word of the Day: Fiuto (sense of smell / instinct)

Today’s word of the day is fiuto, which comes from the verb fiutare meaning to to smell / to sniff.

cover image with the word “fiuto” and a dog sniffing in the background

Fiuto is a masculine noun, so it takes the following definite and indefinite articles.

il fiuto

un fiuto

i fiuti

dei fiuti

Fiuto is most frequently used to talk about an animal’s sense of smell, or even more specifically, that of a cane (dog).

I cani hanno un fiuto molto più fine di quello degli esseri umani.

Dogs have a much keener sense of smell than humans.

Beagle dog sniffing trail in snow.
Il cane ha un fiuto molto sviluppato. = The dog has a highly developed sense of smell.

However, it can also be used figuratively to denote a person’s intuition, instinct, flair or knack for something, such as gli affari (business).

Lila ha un buon fiuto per gli affari. Puoi fidarti di lei.

Lila has a good business instinct. You can trust her.

Related to this figurative meaning is the expression al fiuto which means right away, and with immediate intuition.

Io la gente disonesta la riconosco al fiuto.

I can immediately sniff out dishonest people.

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