Italian Word of the Day: Regina (queen)

The word for queen in Italian, which is regina (feminine, plural: regine), is easy to remember because it looks a lot like the verb to reign in English. Both words are related to the Latin term rex meaning king.

IPA: /re·gì·na/

Margherita di Savoia fu la prima regina consorte d’Italia.

Margherita di Savoia was the first queen consort of Italy.

Regina Margherita di Savoia – Public Domain

In addition to referring to a female ruler and the wife/mother of a king, regina is also the name for the single reproductive female in a colony of social insects such as ants, bees or termites, just as in English.

L’ape regina è la madre di tutte le api presenti nell’alveare.

The queen bee is the mother of all the bees in the hive.

Regina can also be used in a figurative sense to refer to a woman or thing that is regarded as the most outstanding in a particular sphere or group.

Penso che Gianna Nannini sia la regina del rock italiano.

I think Gianna Nannini is the queen of Italian rock.

La rosa è la regina dei fiori.

The rose is the most beautiful of all flowers.

Regina is used to categorise fruit and grapes. The Regina dei Vigneti (lit. Queen of the Vineyards) is a type of premature grape of a golden colour. The Regina dei Frutteti (lit. Queen of the Orchards) is a type of peach tree that produces big and almost perfectly round fruit.

The noun regina is also the word for the most power chess piece on the board, as well as the queen in a deck of cards.

A word that often crops up in fairy tales and legends is the diminutive form reginetta (young queen). This also happens to be the name given to the winner of a beauty pageant.

The name Regina exists in Italian and English and has been in use since medieval times.

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