Italian Word of the Day: Scansafatiche (lazybones)

One of the most common terms for someone who dislikes hard work, and consequently limits himself to doing only what is strictly necessary is scansafatiche. In English, some of the closest translations would be lazybones, idler and slacker to name a new.


It is formed of two parts: the verb scansare (to avoid, dodge) and the noun fatica (labour, exertion).

Quello scansafatiche di mio fratello non ha voglia di fare nulla!

That lazybones brother of mine doesn’t want to do anything!

Like many nouns in Italian, scansafatiche is invariable which means that it has a single form for both the singular and the plural. The only way to know whether the speaker is referring to a man, woman or a group of men or women is to look at the surrounding context. For instance, the articles tells us the gender and plurality in the four examples below.

  • uno / lo scansafatiche = masculine, singular
  • una / la scansafatiche = feminine, singular
  • degli / gli scansafatiche = masculine, plural
  • delle / le scansafatiche = feminine, plural
Quello scansafatiche è rimasto sul divano tutto il giorno! = That lazybones stayed on the couch all day!

Scansafatiche can function as an adjective as well as a noun. For example, uno studente scansafatiche is a lazy student.

Il nostro capo scansafatiche si prende sempre dei giorni di ferie.

Our lazy boss always takes days off work.

The expression fare lo scansafatiche means to slack off or to be a slacker.

Below are a few interesting synonyms for scansafatiche if you feel like further increasing your Italian vocabulary:

Sfaticatolayabout, idler, good-for-nothing
Made up of the prefix s- plus faticato (hard, strenuous)

Pelandroneloafer, idler
The origin of this word is unknown.

Pigronelazybones, couch potato, waste of space
A combination of the adjective pigro (lazy) and the augmentative suffix -one (big).

Poltronelazybones, couch potato, slacker
Derivative of the word poltro (archaic word for ‘lazy‘ or ‘bed‘), related to the noun poltrona meaning armchair.

Fannulloneidler, loafer, lazybones
A combination of fare (to do) + nulla (nothing) + and the augmentative suffix -one (big). Literally a ‘big do nothing’.

Perdigiornolayabout, slacker, skiver
A combination of perdere (to lose, miss, waste) and giorno (day). Literally a ‘day waster’.

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