The Italian word for a frog is rana. It derives from the Latin word of the same spelling.
Rana is a feminine noun. Its plural is rane.
Among the most well-known types of frogs there is the rana rossa (common frog), rana toro (American bullfrog) and the rana verde comune (edible frog). The rana verde is also called ranocchio (masculine noun), the term used in fairy tales such as La Principessa e il Ranocchio (The Princess and the Frog).
Rana and ranocchio can also be used figuratively to denote a short, ugly person, but only the latter is also an affectionate term Italians use with children.
Some terms often associated with frogs include:
- stagno = pond
- palmipede / piede palmato = web-footed
- cra cra = ribbit
- gracidare = to croak
- saltellare = to hop
- girino = tadpole
- anfibio = amphibian
La rana saltò nello stagno gracidando.
The frog jumped into the pond with a croak.
Note: A toad is known as a rospo (masculine, plural: rospi) in Italian.
In English, what we call the breaststroke (a swimming technique) is known as la rana in Italian.
Dopo aver imparato lo stile cagnolino, ho provato a nuotare a rana.
After learning the dog-paddle, I tried doing the breaststroke.
Finally, a uomo rana (lit. frogman) is a synonym for sommozzatore (scuba diver), and was initially used to indicate scuba divers in the Italian police force.
Idioms featuring the word ‘rana’
Avere le gambe come una rana
Literal translation: to have legs like a frog
English meaning: to have legs that stick out to the side
Camminare come una rana
Literal translation: to walk like a frog
English meaning: to hop
Essere gonfio come una rana
Literal translation: to be as puffed up as a frog
English meaning: to be full of pride, arrogance
An alternative to this idiom is fare come la rana con il bue (lit. to do like the frog with the ox). It refers to a fable written by Fedro, in which a jealous frog drinks to the point of exploding because it wishes to become as big as the ox it saw earlier in the day.
Cantare come una rana
Literal translation: to sing like a frog
English meaning: to sing poorly and off-key