Questions tagged [italian]

For questions relating to both the English and the Italian language. For questions purely about Italian, visit our sister site Italian Language Stack Exchange.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
-1 votes
0 answers
20 views

Stradivarius or Stradivari?

Is a violin created by Stradivarius a Stradivarius or a Stradivari? I've seen both usages. Or is it that Stradivarius is considered an adjective as in a Stradivarius violin and Stradivari is a noun ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
65 views

Why is semibreve commonly pronounced as ˈsɛm iˌbriv?

I am seeing this on some dictionary sites: / ˈsɛm iˌbriv, -ˌbrɛv / But, I've only heard it (in Anglophone musical contexts) as ˈsɛm iˌbriv. I wasn't aware about a cafe breve until yesterday. This ...
user avatar
  • 133
8 votes
3 answers
690 views

Is there a good equivalent for the Italian proverb "Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco"?

One of my favorite Italian sayings is Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco (literally "Not all donuts come out with holes"). It usually gets a smile from another Italian speaker, ...
user avatar
  • 17.3k
5 votes
1 answer
281 views

How did English pepperoni come to mean something entirely different from Italian peperoni?

The Italian word peperoni (plural for peperone) is a vegetable known in English as bell pepper: Source: Matti Paavonen, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA The English word pepperoni (singular) is a form of ...
user avatar
  • 2,143
6 votes
1 answer
105 views

A single word for turning something Italian?

I’m looking for an equivalent to “Anglicize”, essentially, but “Italicize” has an existing definition that seems to refer exclusively to typefaces, which complicates things. For instance, it sounds ...
user avatar
  • 61
3 votes
2 answers
72 views

How to translate "rapporto bancario"?

In Italian, we use "rapporto bancario" as a generic word for any "banking relationship" you have with your bank, like a banking account, a mortgage, a loan, you name it. Is "banking relationship" a ...
user avatar
  • 537
3 votes
1 answer
423 views

What made “gusto” popular?

Gusto is a foreign term which the English language appears to have borrowed twice: 1620s, "very common from the beginning of the 19th c." [OED], from Italian gusto "taste," from Latin gustus "a ...
user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
453 views

The “prickmouse” and the “butcher's broom”

I sometimes go for walks in the wood near where I live; and in the undergrowth, beneath the oaks and pines, you'll find an evergreen prickly shrub which is called pungitopo in Italian. The word is ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Possible Italian origin for English expressions "easy peasy" and/or "easy breezy"?

I was watching Rachael Ray and she was making risotto with peas which she said is the first solid food for many Italian children. She was also trying to dispel the notion that risotto is hard or ...
user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
650 views

Is this grammatically correct? "Us with You" [closed]

Is this slogan correct?: "Us with You" "With You To Win Every Challenge" It's from an Italian website translated to English. Sounds a little strange to me.
user avatar
34 votes
11 answers
6k views

Is there an English equivalent of the Italian idiom "non confondiamo l'oro con la tolla!"?

In Italy we say "non confondiamo l'oro con la tolla!" (= don't compare gold to tin!) when someone compares a (concrete or abstract) high-value thing to a low-value one. For example: Joe: "LaTeX è ...
user avatar
  • 537
3 votes
2 answers
461 views

What rules govern uniform mispronounciation of romance languages? [closed]

As someone who isn’t a native speaker of English, I’m often fascinated by how those who are seem to change the pronunciation of words originally from French, Italian, Spanish, and so on in a seemingly ...
user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
11k views

What is the word for the gesture when someone takes three fingers and kisses it into the air?

You often see this with Italians, especially when complimenting some food they just ate, but it has evolved into a more universal gesture. Take the thumb, index, and middle finger, gather them ...
user avatar
  • 225
4 votes
1 answer
267 views

What does “We use the formal lei” mean? [closed]

There was the following passage in an article written by Jhumpa Lahiliri, 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner that came under the title, “Teach yourself Italian” in The New Yorker (December 7, 2015): “I’m ...
user avatar
  • 69.9k
4 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are there any "fake" Italian words used in English?

Now that we've furnished so many interesting words and ideas in response to @Adrian's request regarding pseudo-Gallicisms, why not do pseudo-Italian pseudo-loanwords in English? To paraphrase Adrian: ...
user avatar
  • 19k
22 votes
7 answers
78k views

Where does "pizza pie" originate?

The Italianissimo pizza—pronounced /ˈpiʦ:a/—is not always spelled or called pizza around the world: In Bosnia, Belarusian, Macedonia, Serbia it's spelled pica but pronounced /pîtsa/ In Estonian; ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
21 votes
5 answers
7k views

How did "lobster" mean two different species?

This live crustacean is called astice in Italian. The one on the right is aragosta. They look very different from one another. The Italian dictionary describes the astice as having a deep (intense) ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
5 votes
2 answers
59k views

One word for "a one-eyed person"

I've given an English children's story to a small group of Italian kids to read and perform. The story is about a boy who changes into a cat and makes friends with a one-eyed next-door neighbour; a ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can a car be "naked"?

It's a rare event when I can't find the English equivalent for an Italian expression. It's even rarer when that Italian term consists of one word, but in English I have to build an entire phrase. ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

"farne di tutti i colori" in English

Does anyone know the English translation for "farne di tutti i colori"? It's an Italian expression meaning "do all sorts of things" The literal translation would be: to do something in every colour. ...
user avatar
  • 673
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Etymology of "bizarre"?

bizarre n. "very strange or unusual" I know that it (likely) comes from Basque. Does anyone have a certain knowledge of this? I heard that it comes from Italian from some sources, too.
user avatar
  • 450
7 votes
1 answer
21k views

Why is a calzone called calzone?

I was just researching its etymology and turns out that it comes from calceus the Latin for shoe! How did Latin for shoe end up as the Italian (and subsequently, English) for a snack? They seem so ...
user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
11k views

If I can "fall in" love, can I "fall in" depression?

In Italian we say essere innamorato (to be in love) whereas the English idiom, to fall in love, expresses the idea of abandonment, of letting oneself go. mi sono innamorato = I am in love, and ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
-1 votes
1 answer
156 views

How do I translate this italian locution? [closed]

Often in Italian we use this locution: venire meno Now I wanted to translate it and I didn't come with an 'immediate' translation. Somebody knows the English equivalent?
user avatar
  • 111
9 votes
1 answer
15k views

Why do The Sopranos leave off the last vowel in Italian words?

For example, they pronounce "ricotta" as "rih-gaht", "manicotti" as "mani-gaht", and "prosciutto" as "pro-shoot". I googled this, and according to this post from Chow.com, this is a common thing ...
user avatar
  • 319
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there any connection between “machination” and Machiavelli?

Is there any connection between the term machination and the writer Niccolò Machiavelli or is it just a coincidence that they are so similar? It seems logical because aside from having similar ...
user avatar
  • 2,241
3 votes
4 answers
1k views

What's the noun for "off-key" or "out of tune"?

The answer isn't off-keyness, although I wish it were. I am interested in the secondary meaning of something being off-key, in the sense that it is irregular or incongruous, for example: "An off-key ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
6 votes
7 answers
6k views

How to say succinctly: "An opinion which is ‘shareable’ and agreed upon by many"?

How would you express the notion: ‘overall many would share that opinion’, more succinctly? For example: It is generally agreed upon that "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why and how did "a sensible boy" become "intelligent and prudent"?

Italians often get confused by sensible and sensitive. If I tell them He's a sensible boy; he studies hard, saves his money, and plans ahead. They are quite bewildered. To them, sensible is ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
2 votes
3 answers
671 views

If I measure myself am I only measuring my size?

In Italy when people say they measure themselves, they are not only measuring their height, or their waistlines. Instead they are measuring how well they do something in a challenging or difficult ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
6 votes
2 answers
8k views

According to me, it was acceptable, but according to him, it wasn't

I once had a piece of written work corrected by a very experienced English teacher who told me that writing "according to me" sounded weird and nobody who was English/British would ever say it. I didn'...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
14 votes
5 answers
5k views

In English you have 'above', 'on', 'over' and 'on top of' but in Italian one word, 'sopra', covers all four meanings

In Italian if I were to say, "sopra l'albero" (albero = tree) you might rightly ask: "Yes but where, exactly?" But "sopra" is a great word to learn in Italian, not only is it a very flexible ...
user avatar
  • 85.6k
-2 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does "incognita" mean? [closed]

American Heritage Dictionary reads: incognita adv & adj, with one’s identity disguised or concealed. Used of a woman; n, A woman or girl whose identity is disguised or concealed. ...
user avatar