Italian Word of the Day: Giubbotto (jacket / vest)

A common word for jacket in Italian is giubbotto. It is the augmentative form of giubba, which in modern Italian refers to the shirt worn by jockeys or the jacket of military uniforms. Both can ultimately be traced back to the Arabic gubba, meaning ‘cotton petticoat’.

/giub·bòt·to/
cover image with the word “giubbotto” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

Giubbotto is a masculine noun, which means it takes the following articles:

il giubbotto
the jacket

un giubbotto
a jacket

i giubbotti
the jackets

dei giubbotti
(some) jackets

A giubbotto can be defined as a short, sporty jacket that ends at the waist. It is often padded to offer protection from the cold and can be made of various materials including leather, cloth, and velvet.

Mettiti un giubbotto, che fa freddo fuori!

Put on a jacket, it’s cold outside!


Some common types of giubbotti include:

  • giubbotto invernale = winter jacket
  • giubbotto imbottito = padded / quilted jacket
  • giubbotto di pelle = leather jacket
  • giubbotto da motociclista / giubbotto moto = biker jacket
  • giubbotto da combattimento = combat jacket
  • giubbotto da pilotaflying / bomber jacket
Young lady in face mask chooses warm clothes in department store, standing near mannequin dressed in puffy winter jacket
Mi sa che mi compro questo giubbotto. = I think I’m going to buy myself this jacket.

In addition to denoting jackets designed to protect you from the elements, it also refers to any kind of sleeveless bodice that offers protection, such as:

  • giubbotto salvagente / di salvataggio = life jacket
  • giubbotto antiproiettile / corazzato = bullet-proof vest
  • giubbotto di sicurezza = safety vest
  • giubbotto anti-coltellostab-proof vest

I due poliziotti indossano un giubbotto antiproiettile.

The two policeman wear a bullet-proof vest.


portrait of serious police officers in sunglasses and bulletproof vests near car at street

Of course, giubbotto isn’t the only word that translates as jacket in Italian, as you can see from the list below:

  • giacca = a more generic term for any outer garment with sleeves that covers the shoulders and torso
  • giacchetta = a synonym for giacca; comes from the French jaquette
  • giacchetto = a small, tight-fitting jacket worn by women
  • giubbetto = the diminutive form of giubba; sometimes used as a synonym for giubbotto; it also denotes brightly coloured waist jackets used in regional costumes, as well as the jackets worn by fencers in matches
  • cappotto = coat, overcoat

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