Italian Word of the Day: Arachide (peanut)

The word for both peanut and the peanut plant in Italian is arachide (feminine, plural: arachidi).


Just as you can call a peanut a groundnut, goober or monkey nut in English, Italian too has three synonyms: nocciola americana, pistacchio di terra and cece di terra.

Le arachidi sono il mio snack preferito.

Peanuts are my favourite snack.

peanuts on a table
Le arachidi fanno bene se consumate in porzioni non eccessive. = Peanuts are good for you if eaten in small portions.

Peanuts are the main ingredient in one of the most popular food staples in North America: burro di arachidi (peanut butter). However if you were hoping to find this delicious spread in Italy – good luck – most Italian kids don’t even know what it is, let alone eat it nearly every day on their sandwiches with jelly! And if you are lucky enough to find a jar on the back shelf of a health food store? Well, I can guarantee that it will be half the size yet double the price. My advice is to get used to eating Nutella instead!

Sai dove posso comprare del burro di arachidi? – Non ne ho la più pallida idea!

Do you know where I can buy some peanut butter? – I don’t have a clue!

Peanut butter aside, some popular peanut-related products include:

  • olio di semi di arachide = peanut oil
  • farina di arachidi = peanut flour
  • croccante di arachidi = peanut brittle
  • arachidi tostate = roasted peanuts
  • arachidi salate = salted peanuts

The peanut allergy (allergia alle arachidi) is one of the most widespread food allergies, preceded only by milk and egg allergies. Those with this condition need to make sure that they are always in a peanut-free (senza arachidi) environment, as eating or touching peanuts can cause a serious, or even life-threatening response.

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