Italian Word of the Day: Grattacapo (problem / headache / worry)

While it’s perfectly acceptable to use the word problema in Italian to talk about your issues, incorporating the term grattacapo will add a touch of fluency to your speech!

/grat·ta·cà·po/ – [grattaˈkapo]
italian word grattacapo

Grattacapo is composed of two words: the verb grattare (to scratch) and the noun capo (head). In other words, it literally means “head-scratcher.” Being a masculine noun, it takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

  • il grattacapo = the problem
  • i grattacapi = the problems
  • un grattacapo = a problem
  • dei grattacapi = (some) problems

Patient meet a doctor for a therapy
Ho un grattacapo che non riesco a risolvere. = I have a problem I’m unable to fix.

Here are some verbs that are commonly used with grattacapo:

  • avere un (bel) grattacapo = to have a (real) problem
  • dare un grattacapo a qualcuno = to give someone a headache / cause someone trouble
  • procurarsi dei grattacapi = to get into trouble / a bind
  • prendersi dei grattacapi = to get into trouble / face problems
  • crearsi dei grattacapi = to create problems for oneself

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