Italian Word of the Day: Verdura (vegetables)

The word verdura in Italian is interesting because it is normally used as a singular collective noun, referring to the category vegetables as a whole, or more specifically, the parts of a vegetable plant that can be used in human nutrition.

IPA: /verˈdu.ra/

For example, if you say La verdura fa molto bene alla salute, you are saying that vegetables as a food group are good for your health.

Questo negozio vende frutta e verdura.

This shop sells fruit and vegetables.

That being said, verdura can occasionally translate as the singular vegetable. Alternatively you can use the close synonym ortaggio.

La patata è la verdura / l’ortaggio più popolare in Inghilterra.

The potato is the most popular vegetable in England.

Despite being a collective noun, verdura can also be used in its plural form, verdure, when talking about a number of vegetables.

Queste verdure sono marce!

These vegetables are rotten!

Some popular vegetables in Italy include:

  • pomodoro = tomato
  • cipolla = onion
  • lattuga = lettuce
  • patata = potato
  • carota = carrot
  • peperone = pepper
  • zucchina = zucchini
  • melanzana = eggplant
  • broccolo = broccoli
  • cetriolo = cucumber
  • finocchio = fennel
  • sedano = celery

A greengrocer is known as either a fruttivendolo or an ortolano. The latter also translates as market gardener or horticulturalist.

Below are some common words and expressions that feature the word verdura:

  • passato di verdura = vegetable puree
  • verdura cruda = raw vegetables
  • verdura cotta = cooked vegetables
  • verdura a foglia verde = green vegetables
  • verdura fresca = fresh vegetables
  • verdura biologica = organic vegetables

Another translation for vegetable in Italian is vegetale, which is used as an adjective to describe something that is plant-based. For example, vegetable stock is known as brodo vegetale. Vegetale as a noun is another word for plant (pianta).

Finally, verdura can also refer to the green colour of vegetation (verde means green in Italian).

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