Italian Word of the Day: Mozzafiato (breathtaking)

The word mozzafiato in Italian translates as breathtaking in English. It is a combination of the verb mozzare (to cut off) and the noun fiato (breath), two words that also make up the expression mozzare il fiato (to take one’s breath away). In both languages, these words refer to anything that arouses such amazement or admiration that you can barely breathe.


This particular adjective is invariable, meaning that its form remains the same regardless of the subject it modifies, be it masculine, feminine or plural. For example:

  • il panorama mozzafiato = the breathtaking panorama (masculine, singular)
  • la scena mozzafiato = the breathtaking scene (feminine, singular)
  • gli spettacoli mozzafiato = the breathtaking shows (masculine, plural)
  • le regioni mozzafiato = the breathtaking regions (feminine, plural)

C’è una vista mozzafiato dalla finestra della nostra camera d’albergo.

There is a breathtaking view from the window of our hotel room.

Breathtakingly can translate as (tanto) da mozzare il fiato (lit: so much that it takes your breath away).

La sera, Parigi è così bella da mozzare il fiato.

Paris is breathtakingly beautiful in the evening.

Tre Cime di Lavaredo on a beautiful summer afternoon
Una vista mozzafiato – A breathtaking view

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