Italian Word of the Day: Giallo (yellow)

One of the seven colours that sits between arancione (orange) and verde (green) on the spectrum is giallo (yellow). It is also one of the three primary colours along with rosso (red) and blu (blue).

italian word for yellow

It comes from the Latin word galbĭnus which means greenish-yellow or yellowish.

Il giallo era il mio colore preferito quando ero piccolo.

Yellow was my favourite colour when I was little.

Slice of lemon in yellow background
Il limone è giallo. = The lemon is yellow.

When used as an adjective, the ending changes according to the gender and number of the subject.

  • giallo = masculine, singular
  • gialla = feminine, singular
  • gialli = masculine, plural
  • gialle = feminine, plural

Indossa questa giacca gialla, così ti posso trovare facilmente in mezzo alla folla.

Wear this yellow jacket so I can easily find you in the crowd.

In Italian, the colour isn’t the only thing the word giallo denotes. It is also the word for any film or novel with an exciting and mysterious plot, typically involving crime or espionage. A few possible translations in English include thriller, crime novel or detective story.

Adoro i gialli! Li leggo tutti d’un fiato.

I love crime novels! I read them all in one go.

By extension, it can also refer to real life events shrouded in mystery.

Il giallo si è risolto stamattina quando hanno trovato il colpevole.

The mystery resolved itself this morning when they found the culprit.

Other popular uses include the pagine gialle which means yellow pages and farina gialla (yellow flour) which in Italian is the flour that comes from corn.

Ethics statement: Below you will find affiliate links. If you buy something after clicking the link, we will receive a small commission. To know more about our ethics, you can visit our full disclosure page. Thank you!

Lingopie (affiliate link) is the Netflix of language learning application that uses real TV shows and movies to help you learn a new language. You can choose a show to watch based on your fluency level, and use the interactive subtitles to get instant translations to help you learn quickly.

Are you interested in improving your Italian in a fun and stress-free manner? Then we highly recommend Serena Capilli's short stories in Italian (affiliate link), designed for beginners, advanced beginners, and lower intermediate learners (A1-B1 CEFR). These stories have been optimised for English speakers in search of a fun, laid-back learning experience! Read our full review here.

Leave a Comment