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