Italian Word of the Day: Sapientone/a (know-it-all)

We all know that one person who acts as if he or she knows everything and dismisses the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others.

In English, the best word to describe a person like this is know-it-all (or know-all) whereas in Italian, you’ll probably hear people using the terms sapientone (for a man) and sapientona (for a woman).

italian word for know it all

Here are the definite and indefinite articles that accompany this word in its masculine and feminine forms:

  • il sapientone = the know-it-all (m.)
  • i sapientoni = the know-it-alls (m.)
  • la sapientona = the know-it-all (f.)
  • le sapientone = the know-it-alls (f.)
  • un sapientone = a know-it-all (m.)
  • dei sapientoni = (some) know-it-alls (m.)
  • una sapientona = a know-it-all (f.)
  • delle sapientone = (some) know-it-alls (f.)

If you want to say “to be a know-it-all” or “to act/sound like a know it all”, you can use the expression fare il sapientone (lit. to do the know-it-all).

Non voglio fare il sapientone, ma secondo me…

I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all, but in my opinion…

Confident young man in glasses holding hand on chin and looking at camera while standing against grey background
Che sapientone che sei! = You’re such a know-it-all!

The word derives from sapiente, which as an adjective means wise or knowing, and as a noun means knowledgeable person. By adding the augmentative suffixes -one and -ona onto the end of the noun, you can confer the meaning “big” (literally “big knower”).

Some synonyms you can come across are:

  • saccente
  • saputello (mainly used for young people that think they know better than adults)
  • sputasentenze (lit. “sentences spitter”, it is less common but funny to mention because of how it is constructed)

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