Italian Word of the Day: Scavezzacollo (daredevil)

The word for a reckless young person who leads a wild, free and unruly life is scavezzacollo in Italian. Three possible translations in English include daredevil, risk-taker and tearaway.

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

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It is composed of two words: scavezzare, a single verb that means to break the top off a tree or more generally to break, and collo which means neck. In other words, it literally translates as something along the lines of neck-breaker!

Note: When used to talk about a female, the word final o does not change to a. This is because scavezzacollo is an invariable noun. In the plural, it becomes scavezzacolli for both sexes.

Quella scavezzacollo di mia sorella va a fare paracadutismo domani.

My daredevil of a sister is going skydiving tomorrow.

Man jumping into rapids
Guardate quello scavezzacollo! – Look at that daredevil!

A much rarer translation for scavezzacollo appears in the adverbial phrase a scavezzacollo which means at breakneck speed.

Some synonyms for scavezzacollo are rompicollo and scapestrato.

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