Italian Word of the Day: Uffa! (What a drag!)

Uffa is an onomatopoeic interjection in Italian that is supposed to resemble the sound of a person sighing, grumbling or huffing and puffing (sbuffare) with annoyance. People use it when they are irritated by something and want to get their frustration off their chest by letting out a breathy verbalisation.


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Some English equivalents include Ugh! Geez! and What a drag!

Although it is very informal, it isn’t vulgar, which is why you will often hear children using it.

Uffa, papà! Mario non mi fa giocare con la palla!

Ugh, dad! Mario isn’t letting me play with the ball!

Uffa can be considered a more mild version of the expressions Che palle! (lit: What balls!) or Che pizza! (lit: What a pizza!), both of which mean What a pain! in English.

Uffa, ma che caldo! Non ce la faccio più!

Geez, it’s so hot! I can’t take it any more!

Sometimes you will see uffa abbreviated to just uff, or the less common form uffi.

sad young girl lying on a blue sofa
Uffa, non voglio fare la nanna! = Ugh, I don’t want to take a nap!

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