Italian Word of the Day: Curioso (curious)

The word for curious in Italian is curioso. It derives from the Latin curiosus meaning careful or diligent.

IPA: /kurˈjo.zo/

Because it is an adjective, the ending of curioso changes depending on whether you are talking about a solitary male (curioso), a solitary female (curiosa), a group of males or a mixed group (curiosi) or a group of females (curiose).

Just as in English, curioso can refer to a person who is eager to learn or know something (e.g. un bambino curioso = a curious child), or someone/something that is strange or unusual (e.g. un fatto curioso = a curious fact). An additional meaning in Italian is nosy or prying.

Sono molto curioso di sapere come funziona.

I’m very curious to know how it works.

cat looking over a blind
Un gatto curioso = a curious cat

Used as a noun, curioso can mean either busybody (when talking about a person) or oddity (when talking about a thing or happening). By adding the augmentative suffix -one/a onto the end of curioso, you get the word curiosone/a, which is another more emphatic way of saying busybody or nosy person.

Non fare il curiosone…tanto non te lo dico!

Don’t be a busybody…I’m not going to tell you at any rate!

Curioso can also work as an exclamation said in reaction to a strange or unexpected event.

Curioso! Nessuno ha notato la sua assenza.

Strange! Nobody noticed his absence.

Below are a few useful terms that share the same origin as curioso:

  • curiosare = to browse, nose around, look around
  • curiosità = curiosity, oddity
  • curiosamente = curiously
  • curiosaggine = curiosity, nosiness
two daughters looking at a book with their dad
Due bambine curiose = Two curious girls

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