Italian Word of the Day: Mento (chin)

The word for chin in Italian is mento. It derives from the Latin mentum of the same meaning.

cover image with the word “mento” and a woman holding her chin in the background

Being a masculine noun, mento takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

il mento
the chin

un mento
a chin

i menti
the chins

dei menti
(some) chins

Mi sono svegliato con un brufolo enorme sul mento!

I woke up with a huge pimple on my chin!

Young woman touching chin of her friend who had plstic surgery
Hai qualcosa sul mento! = You have something on your chin!

There are various ways in which you can describe the appearance of a person’s chin. Those who are overweight or elderly may develop un doppio mento (double chin), while many people are born with una fossetta sul mento (a cleft chin).

Someone with a receding or weak chin is said to have a mento sfuggente or mento retruso in Italian. Although it is determined by your genetics, it can be corrected via surgery, which involves cutting and reshaping the lower jaw bone.

The term mento prominente, on the other hand, describes a chin that protrudes more than it should.

To conclude, we have a few expressions with the word mento:

  • stare col mento fra le mani = to collect one’s thoughts, to concentrate (lit. to stay with the chin in one’s hands)
  • levare alto il mento = to look up / to be curious (lit. to raise the chin high)
  • l’onor del mento = the beard, it’s a baroque metaphor that is used today in a joking way (lit. the honour of the chin)

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