In Italy, the polite way of saying that you are full is sazio after a meal if you are a man or sazia if you are a woman. (The respective plural forms are sazi and sazie.) It shares the same origin as the English words sate and satiated.
Che mangiata! Sono proprio sazio! Era tutto squisito!
What a meal! I’m really full! Everything was delicious!
Sazio ≠ pieno
Pieno is the Italian for full and can also describe the feeling of fullness after eating. In this case however, its meaning doesn’t extend beyond the physical state of feeling full. Sazio on the other hand indicates that you enjoyed what you ate, and that you have satisfied your need for food completely.
The phrase sono pieno (I’m full) can be considered a slang phrase by some families. Some might even go as far as saying it is impolite, especially if you are at a formal event.
To be honest, we aren’t exactly sure why this is. One of the reasons could be that you’re implying you’re not hungry or don’t want to eat any more because you didn’t like the food, and the host of the meal might take offence. I remember the Italian family for whom I worked as an au-pair telling me that you shouldn’t say sono pieno and looking back, I wish I’d asked them why. However my husband has used and heard sono pieno a lot around his family and friends, so perhaps it is just a question of individual customs or habits. When in doubt though, use sazio to be on the safe side!
Sazio can also be used in a negative sense if your needs, wants or desires are satisfied to the point of annoyance or disgust. For example, if you take numerous luxury vacations in a short period of time, you might find yourself longing for some downtime at home, at which point you might say:
Sono sazio di tutti questi viaggi. Restiamo a casa per una volta!
I’m tired of all these trips! Let’s stay at home for once.
Two related verbs are saziare (to satisfy) and the reflexive saziarsi (to satisfy one’s appetite). Mai sazio and insaziabile both mean never full / insatiable, whereas a sazietà translates as to one’s fill. Insaziabile can also be used in a figurative way for something that can’t be appeased.
La gelosia del suo ragazzo è insaziabile!
Her boyfriend’s jealousy is insatiable!