Italian Word of the Day: Testardo (stubborn)

Someone who is determined not to change their attitude or position on something, no matter how right or wrong they are and regardless of the advice and opinions of others, is called testardo (stubborn) in Italian.

IPA: /te·stàr·do/

It derives from the Italian word for head which is testa.

Che ragazzo testardo! Con lui non si può mai ragionare!

What a stubborn guy! You can never reason with him!

Testardo is the masculine singular form of the adjective. To transform it into the corresponding feminine and plural forms, simply change the ending from o to a, i or e.

  • testardo (masculine, singular)
  • testarda (feminine, singular)
  • testardi (masculine, plural)
  • testarde (feminine, plural)

Testardo may also function as a noun to refer to a stubborn person.

Sei un gran testardo, lo sai!?

You’re a really stubborn person, you know!

In both English and Italian, we have the phrase as stubborn as a mule (testardo come un mulo). By extension, you can simply call someone a mule / mulo in either language to say that they are stubborn.

mule looking back
Sei testardo come un mulo! = You’re as stubborn as a mule!

Other possible synonyms for testardo in Italian include:

  • caparbio = stubborn, hardheaded
  • ostinato = obstinate
  • cocciuto = stubborn, pig-headed
  • testone = (lit: large head) stubborn person
  • avere la testa dura = (lit: to have a hard head) to be stubborn, hardheaded
unhappy couple seating in a café
Una coppia testarda = A stubborn couple

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