Italian Word of the Day: Elegante (elegant)

If you attend a party wearing an abito da sera (evening dress) or a smoking (tuxedo), there is a very good chance someone will compliment you on how elegante (elegant) you look!

IPA: /e·le·gàn·te/

The word elegante is used in reference to both masculine and feminine subjects. It can refers to clothes but also manners and attitude. To make it plural, simply replace the word-final e with an i to transform it into eleganti.

Caspita, come sei elegante stasera!

Wow, how elegant you look this evening!


Un uomo elegante = an elegant man

Elegante can be used to describe a luxurious location, or the quality of a work of art. For example, by calling a ristorante elegante, you are saying that it is frequented by people of a high social class. Una poesia elegante (an elegant poem) has a certain quality or value.

A few useful synonyms for elegante include:

  • raffinato = refined
  • distinto = distinguished
  • signorile = gentlemanly, distinguished

If you meet someone who tries to demonstrate his superiority by, for example, dressing in elegant clothing in inappropriate situations, you might feel tempted to call him an elegantone (or elegantona for a woman), which is the Italian equivalent of fancypants.

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