Italian Word of the Day: Triste (sad)

The word for sad in Italian, which comes from the Latin tristis, is triste.

IPA: /ˈtris.te/

Like all other adjectives that end in e, the ending of triste stays the same regardless of whether the subject is masculine or feminine. In its plural form, it becomes tristi.

È una situazione molto triste per tutte le persone coinvolte.

It is a very sad situation for everyone involved.


Il cane ha un’aria triste. = The dog has a sad look.

There are a handful of verbs you’ll frequently see used with adjectives that describe emotions such as triste. These include:

essere triste
to be sad


Sono triste di dovermene andare.
I’m sad that I have to leave.

sentirsi triste
to feel sad

Mi sento triste oggi.
I feel sad today.

diventare triste
to become sad

Divento triste facilmente.
I become sad easily.

rendere triste / far diventare triste
to make sad

Mi ha reso / fatto diventare molto triste.
It made me very sad.

If you wish to comment on the appearance of someone who looks melancholy, another very common verb people use is vedere (to look, see).

Ti vedo triste stamattina. È successo qualcosa?

You look sad this morning. Did something happen?
(Literal translation: I see you sad this morning.)


You might also describe them as having un’aria triste (a sad air/vibe).

Il ragazzo che abita sopra di noi ha sempre un’aria triste.

The boy who lives above us always looks sad.


Il ragazzo sulla strada è triste. = The young man on the road is sad.

Other members of the “triste family” of words include:

  • tristemente = sadly
  • in modo triste = in a sad way / manner
  • tristezza = sadness
  • trista = an obsolete term with various meanings including sad, wretched, wicked, poor and sinister; still used in fixed literary expressions such as una trista figura (a miserable impression) or gente trista (wicked people)

If you’re keen on expanding your vocabulary, here are a few useful synonyms for triste: depresso (depressed), infelice (unhappy), malinconico (melancholy), mesto (miserable), and dispiaciuto (displeased).

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