italian slang words

15 Italian Slang Words and Phrases Everyone Should Know

Picking up a few Italian slang words can work wonders to help you truly sound like a native. In this article, we’ll share 15 common Italian slang words and phrases so you can communicate easily with the locals.

Like Americans, native Italians use slang words and phrases to quickly communicate their emotions. Although they may not be grammatically correct, theses words are commonly used to explain many different types of situations in everyday life.

15 Italian Slang Words & Phrases

1. Mettersi insieme

Similar to “seeing someone exclusively” in English, “mettersi insieme” means to begin a serious relationship with someone.

2. Mollare qualcuno

Ouch! Use these Italian slang words when dumping a significant other. They’re roughly translated to “letting go” or “releasing someone free.”

3. Essere nelle nuvole

Italians use this phrase to describe someone who has his or her head in the clouds, or someone who’s constantly daydreaming.

4. Ricco sfondato

These Italian slang words are used to describe someone who’s rich. The phrase literally means “rolling in money.”

5. Veloce come un razzo

Similar to the American phrase,”fast as lightning,” “veloce come un razzo” means something or someone that is as fast as a rocket.

6. Amore a prima vista

Was it “love at first sight,” or as they say in Italy “amore a prima vista,” when you met your Italian crush? This is just one example of the dozens of Italian slang words to describe a romantic relationship.

Related: Fun and Interesting Facts About Italy

7. Alito puzzolente

Ew! You may need to use this Italian slang phrase to notify someone who has “bad breath.”

8. Guastafesta

What we know in America as a “Debbie downer,” is the Italian slang word, “Guastafesta.” This is someone who’s a spoiler or ruins the party.

9. Basta, basta

When your friend is annoying you, shout these Italian slang words which mean “enough is enough.”

10. I Malano miau

Are you shocked about what happened on last night’s episode of Game of Thrones? Use this Italian phrase to express shock or amazement.

11. Non fai scumbari

When your Italian grandmother won’t stop embarrassing you, simply say “Non fai scumbari” or “Stop embarrassing me.”

12. Pisolino

This Italian slang word means “afternoon nap,” which is very common in Italy.

13. Gufare

If you or someone else is experiencing bad luck, use the Italian slang word, “gufare.”

14. Dai

Similar to the American saying “Come on,” “Dai” is used when you want someone to tag along or do something. It can also be used to say “stop it.”

See Also: Learn the Italian Alphabet

15. Boh

The equivalent of the American phrase “I don’t know,” “Boh” is a quick phrase to say when you’re being indecisive.

If you want to make sure you’re using these Italian slang words appropriately, practice speaking with a native or an Italian tutor.

The more you use these Italian slang words and phrases in conversation, the better you will become at speaking Italian.

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches Italian lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M. in vocal performance and has a graduate certificate in Arts Administration from New York University. Learn more about Liz here!

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6 replies
  1. maria minney
    maria minney says:

    The article is funny and interesting. However, #10 and 11 are dialect expressions and they are not well known in every part of Italy. I grew up in Italy and, personally, I never heard of either one. The #12 is not “pizzolino”, but pisolino and in the central part of Italy it is also called “pennichella”.

    • Martina
      Martina says:

      Scumbare must be dialect but I have no clue what it means, gufare is a very informal word (verb) which approximately translates to “to wish bad luck on someone”


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