Italian Word of the Day: Brontolare (to grumble)

Today we’re going to be talking about one of my favourite verbs in Italian, brontolare, meaning to grumble or complain in a low voice.

IPA: /bron.toˈla.re/

It comes from the Greek word βροντάω (vrontáo), which means to thunder or rumble. An easy way to remember this verb is to think of brontosaurus, the well-known dinosaur whose name literally means ‘thundering lizard’ in Greek.

Mio padre non faceva altro che brontolare giorno e notte.

My father did nothing but grumble day and night.


Below you can find the full conjugation of brontolare in the present tense.

Io brontolo

Tu brontoli

Lui brontola

Lei brontola

Noi brontoliamo

Voi brontolate

Loro brontolano

I grumble

You (singular) grumble

He grumbles

She grumbles

We grumble

You (plural) grumble

They grumble

Derived from brontolare is the noun brontolio, the word for a complaint or gripe.

If your friend or family member is in a bad mood and won’t stop complaining about their day, you could jokingly call them a brontolone (masculine) or brontolona (feminine), which translates grump or grouch.

Dai, non fare il brontolone come al solito.

Come on, don’t be a grump as usual.


This verb is also used for the low rumble of thunder and the sound a person’s intestines make while digesting food.

Si sentì un tuono brontolare in lontananza.

Thunder was heard rumbling in the distance.


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