Italian Word of the Day: Rugiada (dew)

An Italian word that sounds as lovely as the thing it indicates is rugiada, which means dew. It is thought to have entered the language from the Latin ros via the Gallo-Italic rosada.

Italian word for dew, rugiada

Rugiada is a feminine noun whose plural form is rugiade. (Note, however, that the plural form is used far less than the singular.) It takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

  • la rugiada = the dew
  • le rugiade = the dew
  • una rugiada = a dew
  • (delle) rugiade = (some) dew

Le goccioline di rugiada brillavano sull’erba.

The dew drops shimmered on the grass.

Some important terms associated with the term rugiada include:

  • goccia / gocciolina di rugiada = dewdrop
  • temperatura di rugiada = dew point
  • rugiadoso = dewy
Dew drops balancing on chick weed leaves
Dewdrops = Gocce di rugiada

A possible synonym for rugiada is guazza, with the difference being that the latter forms in the presence of dense fog that cools on surfaces overnight, creating larger pools of water than ordinary moisture in the air.

Brina (frost) happens when dewdrops become frozen due to the low temperature at night.

In ancient literary Italian, it also acquired the figurative meaning of comfort or relief, as in the following line from 14th century author Boccaccio’s Decameron:

Senza dubbio alcuna rugiada cadere sopra il mio fuoco comincerò a sentire.

I shall, without a doubt, feel some dewdrops (of relief) fall upon my fire.

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