Italian Word of the Day: Gettonato (popular / well-liked)

Gettonato is an adjective that has interesting links to the early days of popular music. Although today it can denote almost anything that is popular or well-liked, it used to refer specifically to popular songs or singers.

/get·to·nà·to/

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To understand why, we need to take a deeper look at the origin of the word. It comes from gettonare, a verb meaning to play a song on a jukebox, and this verb in turn derives from the term juke-box a gettoni (coin-operated jukebox). If a singer or song was gettonato, it meant it was regularly played on the jukebox, and therefore popular.

stylish attractive smiling woman in retro vintage 50's cafe at music jukebox drinking milk shake cocktail in hipster outfit having fun laughing in cheerful mood
Ascolto la canzone più gettonata del mese. = I’m listening to the most popular song of the month.

Gettone means token in Italian and the verb gettonare can also describe the action of making a phone call with a coin-operated public telephone.

The feminine form is gettonata whereas the respective plurals are gettonati and gettonate.

  • un cantante gettonato = a popular singer
  • una canzone gettonata = a popular song
  • dei cantanti gettonati = popular singers
  • delle canzoni gettonate = popular songs

Il nuovo brano di Ligabue è la canzone più gettonata del momento.

Ligabue’s new single is the most popular song at the moment.


Side view portrait of handsome bearded man singing to microphone during band performance on stage, copy space
Un cantante gettonato – A popular singer

As we mentioned above, you can use gettonato these days in a colloquial way to describe anything considered popular including people (persone), places (posti) and ideas (idee).

Questo è il locale più gettonato di Torino.

This is the most popular nightclub in Turin.


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