Italian Word of the Day: Nientepopodimeno (no less)

Today we have a fun word that made me smile from ear to ear the first time I encountered it!

Nientepopodimeno is a humorous variation on the adverbs nientemeno and nientedimeno, both of which usually translate as no less (than). It is normally followed by the comparative conjunction che (than).

cover image with the word “nientepopodimeno” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of coffee

Let’s break down the word to make it a little easier to digest:

  • Niente means nothing
  • Popo comes from po’ po’ (poco poco) which literally translates as ‘a little a little‘ but ironically means just the opposite
  • (Di) meno means less

Il Signor Rossi ha nientepopodimeno che centodieci anni!

Mr. Rossi is no less than one hundred and ten years old!

Like the vast majority of words in the Italian dictionary, it is difficult to assess with absolute certainty when they were used for the very first time, but we know who played an essential role in spreading nientepopodimeno. All credit goes to Roman actor Mario Riva, who, between 1958 and 1960, presented a quiz and variety television program called Il Musichiere. He would use the word to introduce his most prestigious guests. (Source: Accademia della Crusca)

In the video below, you can hear him use this word to introduce Nat King Cole.

University student wearing spectacles studying in library. Young african man taking notes from book while sitting in the library. Focused casual guy writing notes during homework.
Voglio prendere nientepopodimeno che 30 e lode all’esame!
I want to get no less than full marks with distinction on the exam!

Far less commonly, nientepopodimeno may be used as an exclamation of surprise or shock. For example:

Ho fatto una scommessa e ho vinto un milione di euro! – Nientepopodimeno!

I placed a bet and won a million euros! – You don’t say!

The closest Italian synonym to this word, which also happens to be used more frequently, is addirittura.

Sign up for a free trial of LingQ (affiliate link), the app I use to improve my Italian vocabulary, and receive an additional 100 LingQs which can be used before needing to upgrade!

Read our full review of LingQ and find out why we love it so much!

Leave a Comment