Italian Word of the Day: Slitta (sleigh)

Today’s word of the day is part of our Italian Christmas Word Advent Calendar series. Each day throughout December, we’ll post a word that is related to the holiday season. Enjoy!

Without his faithful sleigh – or slitta (feminine, plural: slitte) in Italian – and the help of his eight reindeer, Santa Claus wouldn’t be able to deliver presents to the millions of children across the world! (Or so the story goes!)

IPA: /ˈzlit.ta/

La slitta di Babbo Natale è carica di regali.

Santa’s sleigh is loaded with gifts.


two horses pulling a sleigh in the snow

The word slitta can also be used in reference to the smaller sled children use to slide down snow-covered hills. Another name for this kind of small sled is slittino (masculine), which is the diminutive of slitta.

It derives from the verb slittare which means to slip or slide. If you want to say to go sledding / tobogganing, there are two possible translations: andare a slittare or andare in slitta.

Mi ricordo che tutti gli inverni andavamo a slittare.

I remember that every winter we would go sledding.


This verb can also be used in a figurative sense to mean to postpone or to fall in value.

La mia partenza è slittata di un’ora.

My departure has been postponed by an hour.


There are a few different words and expressions containing slitta that are useful to know if you’re into winter sports:

  • slitta tirata da cani = dogsled
  • cane da slitta = sled dog
  • motoslitta = snowmobile
  • giro in slitta = sleigh ride
  • slittino = luge

In photography, the slitta a contatto caldo is the hot shoe, the socket on the top plate of a digital camera whose electrical contacts allow it to communicate with flashguns and other accessories.

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