The word for any small bowl-shaped drinking container with a handle is tazza in Italian. Unlike most Italian words which derive from Latin, the origin of the word tazza can be traced back to the Arabic ṭasa. Two possible translations in English are cup and mug.
Tazza is a feminine noun. The plural is tazze.
A mug may also be referred to as a tazzone / tazzona or tazza grande, both of which literally mean big cup. The diminutive tazzina, on the other hand, is normally used when talking about a small coffee cup.
La tazza di porcellana mi è scivolata di mano e si è frantumata in mille pezzi.
The china cup slipped out of my hand and smashed into a thousand pieces.
In addition to describing the drinking container itself, tazza may also denote its content, as in the following examples:
- una tazza di tè = a cup of tea
- una tazza di caffè = a cup of coffee
- una tazza di cioccolata calda = a cup of hot chocolate
- una tazza di brodo = a cup of broth
Important: If the preposition da is used instead of di, it is the purpose of the cup that is being described, rather than its contents. For example, una tazza da tè is a teacup, whereas una tazza di tè is a cup of tea.
Non c’è niente di meglio che bere una tazza di caffè di prima mattina.
There is nothing better than having a cup of coffee in the early morning.
Questa ricetta richiede due tazze di yogurt.
This recipe calls for two cups of yogurt.
Tazza is also one possible name for the toilet bowl, with the other being the English word water.