5 Italian Words to Add to Your Vocabulary Now

If you're like me, Italian makes you go a little weak in the knees. Partly because it sounds rich and velvety, and partly because you are a bit intimidated by learning such a beautiful words. Not to fear! I have 5 easy words/expressions that you should add to your everyday vocabulary to sprinkle a little magic into the day of everyone you speak to.

 

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1. Allora

Sounds like: ah-lor-a
What it means: So or UmWhen to use it: I most often use this at the start of a sentence when I need a minute to think.

Example: Someone asks you to explain why you didn't do something. You say: "Allora.... I was sleeping."

 

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2. Dai

Sounds like: Die
What it means: Oh come on! When to use it: Anytime someone does something outrageous. I frequently yell this at people who don't use their blinker. (You know who you are).

Example: Your boss asks you to stay late on Friday. 
You say: "Dai, it's Friday!" Wanna kick it up a notch? Say: "Ma dai! È venerdì."

 

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3. Pronto

Sounds like: Pron-toeWhat it means: I am ready.When to use it: Most Italians actually use this when they answer a phone call and they use ciao to say goodbye. (But any good Italian says ciao at least three times to sign off from a phone call. Maybe 5 or 6 if they are from Bergamo. That's another story for another time.) You can also use it in a situation where you are simply ready.

Example: Your phone rings. You say: Pronto! (You had to see this example coming, didn't you?)

 

4. Uffa

Sounds like: ooof-ahhh
What it means: You've got to be joking. Really? Are you serious? I don't want to. You pair this with a pained expression that really lets the other person know you'd rather not do whatever task they threw at you.

Example: Your professor tells you that your paper is now two pages instead of one. You say, "Uffa!"

 

5. Carina/Carino

Sounds like: car-een-ah OR car-een-oh
What it means: Nice/Cute/AdorableWhen to use it: When you are talking to a person and want to let them know that they are nice or that you appreciate them. Notice that carina is feminine and carino is masculine! So use it appropriately.

Example: Someone gives you a compliment and you want to respond in your beautiful new Italian word. You say: "Grazie, carina!" or if it was a male friend giving you compliments, then you say, "Grazie carino!"

Brooke JohnstonComment