Italian Word of the Day: Maleducato (rude, impolite)

There is a great Italian word for someone who eats with his mouth open, talks back to his parents, and disturbs other people by making too much noise and that is maleducato.

IPA: /ma.le.duˈka.to/

Maleducato translates into English as rude, impolite or ill-mannered and may refer to a person’s speech or behaviour.

A volte quel ragazzo è propio maleducato con i suoi genitori.

Sometimes that boy is really rude to his parents.


Because maleducato is an adjective, the ending changes to correspond with the gender and number of the subject.

  • maleducato = masculine, singular
  • maleducata = feminine, singular
  • maleducati = masculine, plural
  • maleducate = feminine, plural

The opposite of maleducato is simply educato or beneducato, with the latter combining the words bene (good) and educato.

Maleducazione translates as rudeness or bad manners while maleducatamente means rudely. Because this word is a bit of a mouthful even for Italians, you’ll often hear people say in modo maleducato (in a rude way) instead.

Si è comportato con me in modo maleducato.

He acted rudely towards me.


Maleducato can also function as a noun to refer to an ill-mannered individual.

Quella ragazza è una gran maleducata!

That girl is extremely rude!


man and woman arguing in the kitchen
Non fare il maleducato! – Don’t be rude!

Below are some additional adjectives that can translate as rude in Italian:

  • scortese = rude, unkind, discourteous
  • sgarbato = rude, impolite, ill-mannered
  • volgare = rude, vulgar, gross
  • osceno = rude, obscene, indecent
  • grezzo = rough, unrefined

Each country has its own rules of conduct and proper etiquette, some of which may leave visiting foreigners feeling rather perplexed. While Italy may not be as etiquette-bound as other countries in the world, there are some specific behaviours that should be avoided if you don’t want to make a brutta figura (bad impression). These include:

risucchiare linguine e spaghetti
sucking in linguini or spaghetti noodles

indossare vestiti striminziti quando si visita una chiesa
wearing skimpy clothing when visiting a church

chiedere un sacchetto per gli avanzi
asking for a doggie bag

prendere in mano cibo al supermercato senza indossare guanti di plastica
picking up food at the grocery store without wearing plastic gloves

usare un linguaggio informale in situazioni formali
using informal language in formal situations

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