Italian Word of the Day: Signorina (young lady)

The word for young lady in Italian is signorina (feminine, plural: signorine). It derives from the word signora meaning lady or woman.

IPA: /si·gno·rì·na/

The suffixes -ino / -ina are used to form diminutives, so signorina literally means little lady.

L’ho conosciuta quando era una bambina ma ora è diventata una signorina.

I met her when she was a child but now she has become a young woman.


A child officially becomes a signorina upon hitting adolescence, but you will often hear Italian parents calling their young daughters signorina in jest.

Puoi smettere di fare la sciocca, signorina?

Can you stop being silly, young lady?


Traditionally speaking, signorina refers to any unmarried woman. However, these days, it is considered more politically correct to address all women as signora regardless of their martial status, especially in a professional context. The only exception is perhaps teenage girls and very young women who haven’t yet entered university or the working world.

Photo of cheerful african young lady walking outdoors dressed in yellow raincoat. Looking aside.

Another translation for signorina is Miss in English. It can be abbreviated to Sig.na in front of someone’s name in written correspondence. As in speech, signora (Sig.ra) has largely supplanted signorina in writing.


Buona Sera, Signorina (Goodnight, Signorina)

Buona Sera, Signorina, a song written by Carl Sigman and Peter de Rose, has been performed many numerous artists over the years including Louis Prima & His Orchestra in 1957 and Adriano Celentano in 1968. It reached #1 in the singles charts in Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway.

Buona sera, signorina, buona sera
It is time to say goodnight to Napoli
Though it’s hard for us to whisper, buona sera
With that old moon above the Meditteranean sea
In the mornin’ signorina we’ll go walkin’
When the mountains help the sun come into sight
And by the little jewelry shop we’ll stop and linger
While I buy a wedding ring for your finger

In the meantime let me tell you that I love you
Buona sera, signorina kiss me goodnight
Buona sera, signorina kiss me goodnight

Buona sera, signorina, buona sera
It is time to say goodnight to Napoli
Though it’s hard for us to whisper, buona sera
With that old moon above the Mediterranean sea
In the mornin’ signorina we’ll go walkin’
When the mountains help the sun come into sight
And by the little jewellery shop we’ll stop and linger
While I buy a wedding ring for your finger

In the meantime let me tell you that I love you
Buona sera, signorina kiss me goodnight

By the little jewellery shop we’ll stop and linger
While I buy a wedding ring for your finger

In the meantime let me tell you that I love you
Buona sera, signorina kiss me goodnight
Buona sera, signorina kiss me goodnight
Sera, signorina kiss me goodnight

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