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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.

Sagittabondo

adjective: with eyes able to launch love arrows
From the Latin sagitta which means "arrow."

Sciamannato

adjective: shabby

Sgarzigliona

noun: a buxom woman

Gaglioffo

noun: a rapscallion

Obnubilato

adjective: clouded

Lapalissiano

adjective: obvious
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?

Meditabondo

adjective: pensive; contemplative

Pleonastico

adjective: pleonastic
From the Greek πλεονασμός – pleonasmòs – which means "superfluous"

Artefatto

adjective: unnatural

Trasecolato

adjective: astonished
Literally: "out of the century." To be so surprised, you’re in another century.

Bislacco

adjective: odd

Smargiasso

noun: braggart

Apostrofare

verb: to harangue

Ramanzina

noun: telling-off
Variant: romanzina (a long speech)

Granciporro

noun: an enormous mistake (literally: a big crab)

Frusto

adjective: threadbare, worn-out

Ammaliare

verb: to charm

Forbito

adjective: refined

Luculliano

adjective: plush
From Lucio Licinio Lucullo, an ancient Roman famous for his sumptuous feasts.

Solipsista

adjective: selfish
This comes from the philosophical idea of Solipsism.

Buonamano

noun: tip

Vattelappesca

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.

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