Italian Word of the Day: Pigiama (pyjamas)

The Italian word for the loose-fitting garments we wear to bed is pigiama. It entered the language via English, but can be traced back to the Urdu and Persian words pāy (leg) + jāma (clothing).

cover image with the word “pigiama” and a a woman wearing a yellow pyjamas in the background

In English, we use the plural pyjamas to talk about a single pair of pyjamas, whereas Italian has a singular and plural form. The singular is used to denote a single pair of pyjamas, whereas the plural refers to two or more pairs. Here are the definite and indefinite articles:

il pigiama
the (single pair of) pyjamas

un pigiama
a (single pair of) pyjamas

i pigiami
the pyjamas
(more than one pair)*

dei pigiami
some pyjamas
(more than one pair)*

*Note: Pigiama is sometimes considered invariable, which means that its form does not change in the plural. This means that both i pigiami and i pigiama (the pyjamas) are correct.

Of course, if you want to be even more precise, you can say un paio di pigiama (a pair of pyjamas).

Vado un attimo in camera per mettermi il pigiama.

I’m going to my room for a few seconds to put on my pyjamas.

Cheerful family relaxing on cozy couch with baby in arms at Christmas.
Indossano dei pigiami coordinati = They’re wearing matching pyjamas

Along with pigiama itself, the term pigiama party has also entered the Italian language, referring, as it does in English, to a night-time party where pyjamas or nightgowns are worn.

Finally we have the pigiama-palazzo (palazzo pyjama), a suit made up of wide trousers and a slip blouse that was created in the 1960s by the Russian princess Irene Galitzine.

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