The Most Common Italian Adjectives to Describe a Person

In all languages, including Italian, we can describe a person in two different ways. On one hand, we can describe their physical appearance and on the other, their character. Let’s take a look at how we can do this in Italian using the most common adjectives to describe a person.

the most common italian adjectives to describe a person

Describing a person with adjectives: Physical appearance

When we see a person, the first thing we do, either consciously or unconsciously, is take note of what they look like. We may notice how tall they are, whether they are fit or not, we may get an idea of their age and we notice details such as the colour of the eyes and hair, or the size of the nose and lips. But how can we go about describing these physical characteristics to someone in Italian? Here is a useful list of common adjectives you can use.

Altezza (Height)

Alto / Alta
Alti / Alte
Tall

Basso / Bassa
Bassi / Basse
Short

Media statura
Medium height

Giovanni è proprio alto.

Giovanni really is tall.


Io sono sempre stata la bambina più bassa della classe.

I’ve always been the shortest girl in the class.


Quanto è alto Giovanni? Sarà di media statura.

How tall is Giovanni? He’s medium height.


A group of four football players in sports uniform, three tall figures and one shorter team player.

I capelli (hair)

Important: In Italian, hair is always considered plural whereas in English, we treat it as a mass noun. For this reason, all of the following adjectives have been written in their masculine plural form.

Il colore dei capelli (Hair colour)

Biondi
Blonde

Rossi
Red

Neri
Black

Grigi
Grey

Castani
Brown

Bianchi
White

La tipologia dei capelli (Hair type)

Lisci
Straight

Corti
Short

Mossi
Wavy

Lunghi
Long

Ricci
Curly

Crespi
Frizzy

Giorgia ha i capelli rossi, un po’ mossi e credo ora li abbia lunghi.

Giorgia has red hair that’s a bit wavy, and I believe it’s long as well.


Le ragazze hanno i capelli biondi, lunghi e liscissimi.

The girls have long, blonde, straight hair.


Ho visto un ragazzo con i capelli neri e ricci. Era meraviglioso!

I saw a guy with curly black hair. He was gorgeous!


Beautiful young girl with curly red hair in chamomile field

Il naso (nose)

Sottile
Thin / Slim

Grosso
Large

Largo
Wide

A patata
Button

Lungo
Long

Appuntito
Pointy

La mia bambola ha un nasone a patata.

My doll has a button nose.


Beata te che hai un nasino così sottile.

You’re so lucky to have such a slim nose.


Mio nonno aveva un naso grosso.

My grandfather had a large nose.


Germany, Bavaria, Munich, Couple, man touching woman's nose, portrait, close-up

Le labbra (lips)

Carnose
Thick / Plump

Sottili
Thin


Le mie labbra preferite sono quelle carnose.

Plump lips are my favourite.


Hai ereditato le labbra sottili di tuo padre

You’ve inherited your father’s thin lips.


Cheerful tanned girl with big bright lips, accessories and brunette hair in fashionable dark polka dot blouse smiling and posing with closed eyes..

La barba (beard)

Lunga
Long

Morbida
Soft

Corta
Short

Ispida
Prickly

Non riesco mai a darti un bacio con quella barba lunga e ispida.

I can never kiss you with that long, prickly beard.


Da quando ti conosco hai la barba corta.

You’ve had a short beard for as long as I’ve known you.


black man with beard

La forma del corpo (body shape)

Magro / Magra
Magri / Magre
Skinny

Grosso / Grossa
Grossi / Grosse
Big, large

Snello / Snella
Snelli / Snelle
Slim

Grasso / Grassa
Grassi / Grasse
Fat

Tu sei sempre stato magro.

You’ve always been skinny.

Non posso dire che sia grasso, è solo un po’ fuori forma.

I can’t say that he’s fat, he’s just a bit out of shape.


Surprised chunky bearded thick man indicates index finger at camera, has overweight as eats junk food, picks someone, stands against rosy background. Unhealthy nutrition and obesity concept.

L’età (age)

Giovane / Giovani
Young

Vecchio / Vecchia
Vecchi / Vecchie
Old

Di mezza età
Middle aged

Anziano / Anziana
Anziani / Anziane
Old (more polite)

Quando ti ho conosciuto eri così giovane.

You were so young when I met you.


Quando sarò vecchia andrò a vivere al mare.

When I’m old I’m going to live by the sea.


Old man sitting on the bed in bedroom and looking at photos in his hands, he remembering past events

L’aspetto generale (Overall appearance)

Bello / Bella
Belli / Belle
Handsome / Beautiful

Normale / Normali
Normal, average

Carino / Carina
Carini / Carine
Cute / Nice

Brutto / Brutta
Brutti / Brutte
Ugly

Non dirmi che trovi bello Mario!

Don’t tell me you find Mario handsome!


La trovo così carina. Ha un sorriso dolcissimo.

She’s so cute. She has such a sweet smile.


Handsome young fashionable teenager standing in green bush on city street and looking away.

Describing a person with adjectives: Personality

We know that physical appearance is not everything. The body describes only part of a person – their personality, character and way of behaving do the rest.

Here is how we can describe a person in Italian using very common adjectives referring to the character or personality of an individual.

Aperto o chiuso

Aperto / Aperta / Aperti / Aperte = Open
Chiuso / Chiusa / Chiusi / Chiuse = Closed

Sei così aperta e tollerante verso gli altri.

You’re so open and tolerant towards other people.


Non sono mai riuscito a creare un rapporto con lui. È troppo chiuso, troppo silenzioso.

I’ve never been able to get along with him. He’s too closed, too quiet.


Portrait Of Businesswoman Sitting At Meeting Table Working On Laptop In Modern Open Plan Office

Sorridente/allegra o triste/imbronciata

Sorridente / Sorridenti = Smiling, cheerful, good-natured
Allegro / Allegra / Allegri / Allegre = Happy, cheerful
Triste / Tristi = Sad
Imbronciato / Imbronciata / Imbronciati / Imbronciate = Sullen, sulky

È sempre così sorridente e allegra. Mi mette proprio di buon umore.

She’s always so cheerful and happy. She really puts me in a good mood.


Non ho voglia di vedere Giorgio. È sempre imbronciato.

I don’t feel like seeing Giorgio. He’s always sullen.



Espansivo o timido

Espansivo / Espansiva / Espansivi / Espansive = Outgoing, warm, exuberant
Timido / Timida / Timidi / Timide = Shy

È talmente espansiva che ti fa sentire subito a tuo agio.

She is so exuberant that she immediately makes you feel at ease.


Non essere timido, prova a dire la tua opinione.

Don’t be shy, try to state your opinion.



Gentile o maleducata

Gentile / Gentili = Kind, courteous, polite
Maleducato / Maleducata / Maleducati / Maleducate = Rude, ill-mannered

Sei molto gentile a pensare a me.

You’re very kind to think of me.


Non ho mai incontrato nessuno di così maleducato.

I’ve never met someone so rude.


Portrait of smiling kind senior Santa Claus with white beard and eyebrows wearing eyeglasses and cap

Simpatico o antipatico

Simpatico / Simpatica / Simpatici / Simpatiche = Nice, kind, fun
Antipatico / Antipatica / Antipatici / Antipatiche = Unkind, unpleasant

Francesca è simpaticissima. Mi fa morire dal ridere.

Francesca is so nice. She makes me laugh so hard.


Non mi aspettavo quella risposta. È stato molto antipatico.

I wasn’t expecting that response. It was very unpleasant.


Angry african american young man holding digital tablet while reclining on couch in living room, gesturing, losing on trading markets, gambling online concept, side view, copy space

Estroversa, socievole o introversa

Estroverso / Estroversa / Estroversi / Estroverse = Extroverted
Socievole / Socievoli = Sociable
Introverso / Introversa / Introversi / Introverse = Introverted

Sei così socievole che fai amicizia in pochi minuti.

You are so sociable that you make friends in a matter of minutes.


È così introversa che sarebbe dura per lei cambiare classe.

She’s so introverted that she’d find it hard to change classes.


Two female friends on bench make silly faces while wearing sunglasses as they take a photo with their cell phone

Divertente o noioso

Divertente / Divertenti = Fun
Noioso / Noiosa / Noiosi / Noiose = Boring

Dovevi fare l’attore comico. Sei troppo divertente.

You should have been a comedian. You’re so funny.


Non ho voglia di uscire con lui, è noioso.

I don’t want to go out with him, he’s boring.


Closeup of bored plump chinese boy teenager wearing glasses studying online, sitting at desk at home, using laptop and wireless headset, attending class, copy space. Kids and lockdown concept

Intelligente o ottuso

Intelligente / Intelligenti = Smart, intelligent
Ottuso / Ottusa / Ottusi / Ottuse = Slow, obtuse

Claudio è una delle persone più intelligenti che conosca.

Claudio is one of the most intelligent people I know.


Niente, non vuole ragionare. È ottuso.

Forget it, he won’t listen to reason. He’s obtuse.


Intelligent smiling black author writes records in notebook, prepares article for business newspaper, wears transparent glasses, drinks coffee, enjoys cozy atmosphere in cafeteria, being workaholic

About Allegra Lucarelli: Allegra is a Family Language Consultant and Bilingual Influencer. She helps families raise their children to be bilingual and multilingual at AllegraLu.com.


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