Italian Word of the Day: Scodinzolare (to wag its tail)

You may be as surprised to learn as I was that there is a single verb in Italian that means “to wag its tail” in Italian which is scodinzolare.

/sco·din·zo·là·re/ – [skodintsoˈlare]
Italian verb 'scodinzolare'

Scodinzolare is a regular -are verb, so it can be conjugated in the following manner in the present tense:

(io) scodinzolo

(tu) scodinzoli

(lui) scodinzola

(lei) scodinzola

(Lei) scodinzola

(noi) scodinzoliamo

(voi) scodinzolate

(loro) scodinzolano

As you can see from the following example sentence, there is no need to even mention the coda (tail) of the dog, as it is already contained within the verb (codinzolo is the diminutive of coda).

Il cane scodinzola perché è tornato il suo padrone.

The dog is wagging its tail because its master came back.

Dod outside in the back garden
Il cane scodinzolava perché vedeva il bambino. = The dog was wagging its tail because it saw the boy.

As with many verbs, there is a figurative meaning to accompany the literal meaning. Because dogs are often seen as subservient to their masters, the verb has also assumed the meaning of “to kowtow” or “to grovel” when used in reference to people.

Tutti scodinzolano dietro al capo.

Everyone kowtows to the boss.

In a humorous sense, it can also mean “to walk with a wiggle” especially when talking about women.

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