Italian Word of the Day: Peloso (fluffy / hairy)

Peloso is an Italian adjective that may describe anything with a soft hair-like texture. This means that it can translate as any one of the following terms in English: fluffy, hairy, furry, fuzzy, wooly or shaggy. It comes from the word pelo which means hair.

IPA: /peˈloso/
  • un gatto peloso = a fluffy cat
  • un braccio peloso = a hairy arm
  • una foglia pelosa = a fuzzy/furry leaf
  • un tessuto peloso = a woolly fabric
  • un cane peloso = a shaggy dog
grey kitten held by women hands
A fluffy kitten = Un gattino peloso

In Italian, adjectives always agree in gender and number with the nouns they modify. Those ending in o have four forms – masculine, feminine, singular and plural – as you can see below:

  • peloso (masculine, singular)
  • pelosa (feminine, singular)
  • pelosi (masculine, plural)
  • pelose (feminine, plural)

Il tuo cane è talmente peloso che non si riescono a vedere i suoi occhi.

Your dog is so shaggy that you can’t see its eyes.


grey shaggy dog
Un cane peloso = A shaggy dog

Some possible synonyms for peloso include irsuto (hairy, hirsute), villoso (hairy, villous), lanuginoso (fuzzy, furry) and lanoso (woolly).

In a figurative sense, this adjective can also be used to describe a person who only pursues his own interests, behaves hypocritically and lacks moral scruples. It is from this figurative meaning that we get the expression fare una carità pelosa, which means to carry out charitable deeds that are, in reality, for one’s own benefit.

A funny proverb in Italian is donna pelosa donna virtuosa which means hairy woman virtuous woman. The suggestion is that hairy women are virtuous because they care for more than just external beauty.

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