Italian Word of the Day: Tegola (roof tile / blow)

The word for a roof tile or shingle in Italian is tegola (feminine, plural: tegole). It comes from the Latin tegula which derives from the verb tegere meaning to cover.

/té·go·la/

Un tetto di tegole is a tiled roof whereas the verb to tile translates as coprire / rivestire di tegole (lit: to cover with tiles).

Note: In some online dictionaries you may also find the verb piastrellare as a possible translation for to tile, but be aware that the verb refers to piastrelle, which are tiles used in bathrooms or kitchens, not roofs.

Sono cadute delle tegole dal tetto per colpa della tempesta.

Some tiles fell off the roof because of the storm.


Roof tile
Centinaia di tegoleHundreds of roof tiles

On the surface, tegola may seem like a pretty dull choice for word of the day. (In fact, I salute you for making it this far into the article!)

The beauty of the word lies not in its literal but its figurative meaning blow, as in the sense of a sudden shock or disappointment. If you can imagine a tile flying off a roof and hitting you square in the head, it becomes quite obvious how the association was born! 😉

Perdere il lavoro è stata una vera e propria tegola in testa per lui e la sua famiglia.

Losing his job was a real blow for him and his family.


Che tegola ragazzi, perdere la gara in quel modo! Il pilota sarà furibondo!

Man, what a blow to lose the race like that. The driver must be furious.

Be careful not to mix it up with the masculine tegolo which, according to Treccani, is a predominantly Tuscan variant on the word tegola used specifically to refer to a type of tile called coppo.

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