Italian Word of the Day: Lunatico (moody)

The adjective lunatico in Italian is used to describe someone with a fickle and inconstant character, who is subject to mood swings or sudden outbursts of anger. Although it shares the same origin as the English word lunatic, its meaning is closer to moody or temperamental.

/lu·nà·ti·co/

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Lunatico comes from the Latin lunaticus, the word for someone who suffers from recurrent bouts of madness according to the phases of la luna (the moon).

Because it is an adjective, it also has feminine and plural forms:

  • lunatico = masculine, singular
  • lunatica = feminine, singular
  • lunatici = masculine, plural
  • lunatiche = feminine, plural

Mio fratello è lunatico. Vivere con lui non è facile.

My brother is moody. It’s not easy living with him.


Single cat sitting on the pavement
Stai attento al gatto. È un po’ lunatico!Beware of the cat. He’s a bit moody!

When used as a noun, lunatico and its feminine equivalent lunatica translate as moody person.

Quel lunatico di mio fratello mi ha fatto impazzire oggi!

That moody brother of mine drove me crazy today!


In ancient Italian, it used to refer to someone who was prone to epileptic seizures. This is because, at the time, it was thought that epilepsy was caused by the moon.


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