Italian Word of the Day: Imbranato (clumsy / awkward)

A colloquial adjective for someone whose behaviour or movements are clumsy is imbranato in Italian. The corresponding feminine form is imbranata whereas the respective plurals are imbranati (m) and imbranate (f).


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The word is thought to derive from the Venetian imbranà (imbrigliato in Italian) which literally translates as harnessed or tightened by the bridle but figuratively means to be bound or restrained. It was once part of the jargon of the Alpine troops, but has since become very widespread in colloquial Italian.

Luigi è un tipo imbranato. Giovanni, invece, è molto sicuro di sé.

Luigi is a clumsy type. Giovanni, on the other hand, is very confident.

Careless waiter trying to catch cup of tea while young woman looking if there is stain on her clothes
Un cameriere imbranato = A clumsy waiter

Like many adjectives, imbranato can also function as a noun, in which case it would translate as clumsy person, oaf or klutz.

Quella ragazza è proprio un’imbranata!

That girl is a real klutz!

A verb that derives from imbranato is the uncommon imbranarsi which is a synonym for confondersi (to get confused).

Some possible synonyms for imbranato include:

  • goffo = clumsy, awkward
  • impacciato = clumsy, self-conscious
  • maldestro = clumsy, bumbling

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