Italian Word of the Day: Coniglio (rabbit)

Today’s word of the day is part of our Italian Easter Word series. Each day during the week leading up to Easter, we’ll post a word that is related to this special time of year. Enjoy! 🐰

Coniglio (masculine, plural: conigli), the Italian word for rabbit or bunny, can be quite difficult for English speakers to pronounce because it contains the infamous gli sound.

italian word for rabbit

Learn with our video

In fact, it took me around six months to build up the courage to use it in a sentence! 😉

Da piccolo avevo un coniglio che si chiamava Yo-Yo.

When I was little I had a rabbit called Yo-Yo.

domestic bunny on the a wooden table outside

It refers not only to the living animal but also to the meat of the animal, just as in English.

Non ho mai mangiato coniglio in vita mia.

I’ve never eaten rabbit in my life.

In a figurative sense, coniglio on its own and the expression cuore di coniglio (heart of a rabbit) translate as scaredy-cat or coward. The latter is also the title of a song by Italian singer Femina Ridens, which you can listen to below.

Below are a few terms containing the word coniglio in Italian:

  • zampa di coniglio = rabbit’s foot
  • stufato di coniglio = rabbit stew
  • tana di coniglio = rabbit hole, warren
  • pelo di coniglio = rabbit fur

Whereas in English, we differentiate between male and female rabbits using the names buck and doe, Italians use the terms maschio di coniglio (male rabbit) and femmina di coniglio (female rabbit).

The word for hare on the other hand is lepre (feminine), which I think you’ll agree is much easier to pronounce! Lepre is also a figurative term for a swift and agile person.

Sei veloce come una lepre!

You’re as fast as a hare!

Finally, the coniglietto pasquale or coniglietto di Pasqua is the Italian for Easter Bunny. Coniglietto is the diminutive form of coniglio, which literally means little rabbit, and is the preferred term when talking about the Easter Bunny because it conjures up a cuter, fluffier image than coniglio on its own.

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