Italian Word of the Day: Bidone (garbage can)

Just as there are numerous terms for the humble garbage can in English including trash can, rubbish bin, wastepaper basket and dustbin, so too are there many in Italian!

Public Domain – Taken by TheInvertedFan on Flickr

One of the most diffused terms is bidone (masculine, plural: bidoni).

IPA: /bi·dó·ne/

It can be used on its own or followed by della spazzatura / dei rifuti / dell’immondizia in order to specify what kind of bin or can it is.

Ho messo il sacchetto di plastica nel bidone della spazzatura.

I put the plastic bag into the garbage bin.


Bidone can be used for liquid containers such as oil (petrol). It is also a slang term for an old car in poor condition, whereas the expression fare / dare / tirare un bidone means to scam someone or to miss an appointment.

Public Domain – Taken by Bernard Spragg on Flickr

Some other popular synonyms for bidone include pattumiera (a bin found inside the home), cestino (a small bin normally for paper) and cassonetto (a large bin with wheels for outdoor rubbish collection).

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