Italian Word of the Day: Intoppo (setback / hindrance)

If you find yourself regularly coming up against stumbling blocks while trying to realise your goals, you’ll definitely find the word intoppo useful!

/in·tòp·po/
cover image with the word “intoppo” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

Intoppo is a masculine noun. The plural is intoppi.

l’intoppo
un intoppo

gli intoppi
degli intoppi

Intoppo, which comes from the verb intoppare (to crash, collide, stumble), describes the act of colliding with an obstacle, either literally or figuratively. Some popular translations include hindrance, setback, hiccup, difficulty and hitch to name a few.

La porta non si chiude. Ci dev’essere un intoppo.

The door won’t close. There must be something blocking it.


Some verbs you will often see used with intoppo include:

  • andare / procedere senza intoppi = to proceed smoothly (lit. to proceed without obstacles)
  • trovare / incontrare intoppi = to encounter obstacles, to come up against obstacles
  • mettere / creare intoppi = to put obstacles in the way, to throw up obstacles
  • superare un intoppo = to overcome a difficulty
  • fare intoppo = to get in the way

Il matrimonio si è svolto senza intoppi.

The wedding went off without a hitch.


Portrait of modern tourist group waiting arrive to another woman from their team
È arrivata in Italia senza intoppi. = She made it to Italy without (encountering) any difficulties.

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