Italian Slang Dictionary

Slang Italian Words and Colloquial Expressions

Family drinking wine
alzare il gomito exp. to drink; (lit.): to raise an elbow. Cultura RM Exclusive/Zero Creatives/Getty Images

Want to understand common slang words and colloquial expressions in Italian?

Below is an Italian slang dictionary with definitions in English.

Italian Slang Dictionary

A

accidente m. nothing, zip; (lit.): an accident.
alito puzzolente m. bad breath; (lit.): stinking breath.
allocco m. a stupid person, a jerk; (lit.): an owl.
alzare il gomito exp. to drink; (lit.): to raise an elbow.
amore a prima vista exp.

love at first sight: È stato amore a prima vista! It was love at first sight!
avere un chiodo fisso in testa exp. to be fixated on something; (lit.): to have a nail fixed in the head. Tommaso pensa a Maria giorno e notte. Lui ha davvero un chiodo fisso in testa Thomas thinks about Maria day and night. He's truly fixated on her.

B

balena f. a very fat man or woman, a fatso, fat slob; (lit.): a whale.
beccare qualcuno v. to hit on someone, to pick someone up; (lit.): to peck.
bel niente m. nothing, zip; (lit.): a beautiful nothing.
bischero m. (Tuscany) a stupid person, a jerk.
boccalone m. a big mouth, a gossip; (lit.): an enormous mouth.


C

ceffo m. (pejorative) ugly mug.
chiudere il becco v. to shut up, to shut one's trap; (lit.): to close the beak.
cicciobomba n. a fatso, fat slob; (lit.): fat bomb.
colpo di fulmine exp. love at first sight; (lit.): a thunderbolt (of love).
come il cacio sui maccheroni exp.

just what the doctor ordered; (lit.): like cheese on macaroni.

D

da parte exp. aside.
donnaccia f. (pejorative) slut, hussy.
donnaiolo m. womanizer, playboy, flirt.
due parole exp. a few words; (lit.): two words.

E

essere in gioco exp. to be at stake.
essere nelle nuvole exp. to daydream; (lit.): to be in the clouds.


essere un po' di fuori exp. to be a little wacky, to be out of one's mind; (lit.): to be a little bit out.

F

fannullone m. a lazy bum; (lit.): do-nothing (from fare nulla, meaning "to do nothing").
fare il grande exp. to show off, to act like someone big; (lit.): to do the big.
fare impazzire qualcuno exp. to drive someone crazy; (lit.): to make someone crazy.
farsi bello(a) v. to doll oneself up.
farsi una canna to have a joint.
farsi una ragazza (trivial) to score with a girl.
fuori come un balcone drunk.
fuori di testa exp. to be out of one's mind; (lit.): to be out of one's head.

G

grassone/a n. a very fat man or woman, a fatso, fat slob.
grattarsi la pancia exp. to twiddle one's thumbs; (lit.): to scratch one's stomach.
gruzzolo m. nest egg.
guastafesta n. a party pooper; (lit.): a party spoiler.

I

in gran parte exp. largely.
in orario exp. on time.
in verità exp. as a matter of fact.
inghiottire il rospo exp. to eat crow; (lit.): to swallow a toad.

L

la vita di Michelaccio exp. the life of Riley.
leccapiedi exp. brownnoser; (lit.): feet-licker.
levataccia very early rising; fare una levataccia: to get up very early [or at an ungodly hour].
libro giallo exp. detective or mystery story; (lit.): yellow book.


limonare (familiar, regional) to make out.
locale m. club or night club. 

M

mettere paglia al fuoco exp. to tempt fate; (lit.): to add straw to the fire.
mettersi insieme exp. to start a serious relationship, to tie the knot.
mollare qualcuno exp. to dump someone; (lit.): to let go of someone, to release someone.
morire di/dalla noia exp. to die of boredom.

N

nocciolo della questione exp. crux of the matter.
nuotare nell'oro exp. to be rolling in money; (lit.): swimming in gold.
nuovo di zecca exp. brand new; (lit.): new from the mint.

O

occhiataccia f. dirty look.
oggi come oggi exp. as matters now stand.
olio di gomito exp. elbow grease.
ora di punta exp. rush hour.

P

parolaccia f. dirty word.
piazzaiolo m. (pejorative) vulgar, mob-.
pigrone/a n. & a. a lazy bum (from the masculine noun pigro, meaning "someone who is idle"); (lit.): big lazy bum.


pisello m. (popular) penis.
portare male gli anni exp. not to age well; (lit.): to carry the years badly.
puzzare da fare schifo exp. to stink to high heaven; (lit.): to smell/stink to disgust.

Q

quattro gatti exp. only a few people; (lit.): four cats.

R

ricco sfondato exp. rolling in money; (lit.): endlessly rich.
roba da matti exp. crazy.
rompere il ghiaccio exp. to break the ice.
rosso come un peperone exp. as red as a beet; (lit.): as red as a pepper.

S

saccente (un/una) n. a know-it-all, a smart-ass; (lit.): from the verb sapere, meaning "to know."
saputo/a n. a know-it-all, a smart-ass; (lit.): from the verb sapere, meaning "to know."
scoreggia f. (pl. -ge) (vulgar) fart.
scoreggiare v.i. (vulgar) to fart.
scemo/a n. a stupid person, a jerk; (from the verb scemare, meaning "to shrink or diminish").
sfatto f. (trivial) worn out after a night of debauchery.
sgualdrina f. (pejorative) trollop, strumpet, harlot, tart.
spettegolare v. to gossip; (lit.): to tattle.

T

tabula rasa exp. a clean slate.
tappo m. a very short guy; (lit.): cork.
testona pelata f. a bald guy; (lit.): big peeled head.
tirare un bidone a qualcuno exp. to stand someone up on a date or appointment; (lit.): to throw a trash can at someone.
tutto sale e pepe exp. lively, cheerful; (lit.): all salt and pepper.

U

uggioso/a n. (Tuscany) boring; (lit.): an annoying person.
ultima parola exp. last word, bottom line.

V

valere la pena exp. to be worth the trouble; (lit.): worth the grief or sorrow.
vaso di Pandora exp. Pandora's box; (lit.): Pandora's vase.


veloce come un razzo exp. as fast as a bullet; (lit.): as fast as a rocket.
vivere alla giornata exp. to live from hand to mouth.
volente o nolente exp. like it or not; (lit.): willing or unwilling.

Z

zitellona f. (pejorative) old maid.

For more explicit expressions, try Italian Adult Slang.

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Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Slang Dictionary." ThoughtCo, Mar. 16, 2017, thoughtco.com/italian-slang-dictionary-2011657. Filippo, Michael San. (2017, March 16). Italian Slang Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-slang-dictionary-2011657 Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Slang Dictionary." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/italian-slang-dictionary-2011657 (accessed November 20, 2017).