The word for shark in Italian is squalo (masculine, plural: squali) – not to be confused with the adjective squallido which means run-down or sleazy! Like great deal of Italian words, it finds its origins in Latin (squalus).
Because squalo begins with s + consonant, it takes the indefinite article uno instead of un (a shark = uno squalo) and the definite article lo instead of il (the shark = lo squalo).
A differenza di altri pesci, lo squalo ha uno scheletro fatto di cartilagine.
Unlike other fish, the shark has a cartilage skeleton.
Below are different kinds of sharks with which you might be familiar:
- squalo bianco = great white shark
- squalo tigre = tiger shark
- squalo leuca = bull shark
- squalo elefante = basking shark
- squalo balena = whale shark
- squalo martello = hammerhead shark
Just as in English, the word squalo can be used to refer to an aggressive and unscrupulous person who exploits others or takes full advantage of a situation even if it is at the expense of others.
Negli affari Nicola è un vero squalo.
In business matters, Nicola is a real shark.
Did you know that…?
Across the world, there are over 500 species of shark which vary in size from as small as a human hand to 12 meters long. They live in a wide variety of ocean habitats including the coral reefs (barriere coralline), the deep sea (acque profonde) and even the cold waters of the Arctic Ocean (Mar Glaciale Artico).