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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


zitellona f. (pejorative) old maid.

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Your Citation
Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Slang Dictionary." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Filippo, Michael San. (2020, August 27). Italian Slang Dictionary. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Slang Dictionary." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).