A Dictionary Of Beautiful, But Forgotten, Italian Words
These "vintage" Italian words have fallen out of fashion, but we think it's about time they made a comeback. Check out our favorites.
Italian is world-famous for sonorous and emotionally expressive words. But, believe it or not, there are many wonderful Italian words that never made it to modern times. We think that’s a shame, so we’ve collected our favorite "vintage" Italian words that deserve a comeback.
adjective: with eyes able to launch love arrows
From the Latin sagitta which means "arrow."
noun: a buxom woman
noun: a rapscallion
The word originates from the grave of Marshal Jacques de La Palice. The tombstone said "Ci-gît le Seigneur de La Palice: s’il n’était pas mort, il ferait encore envie." (Here lies the Seigneur de La Palice: If he weren’t dead, he would still be envied.) The words were misread in "… s’il n’était pas mort, il serait encore en vie" (If he weren’t dead, he would still be alive). Quite obvious, right?
adjective: pensive; contemplative
From the Greek πλεονασμός – pleonasmòs – which means "superfluous"
Literally: "out of the century." To be so surprised, you’re in another century.
verb: to harangue
Variant: romanzina (a long speech)
noun: an enormous mistake (literally: a big crab)
adjective: threadbare, worn-out
verb: to charm
From Lucio Licinio Lucullo, an ancient Roman famous for his sumptuous feasts.
This comes from the philosophical idea of Solipsism.
interjection: who knows?!
The "and all" that Holden Caulfied says constantly in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye became "vattelappesca" in the most famous Italian translation.