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Italian Vocabulary

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Getting to know Italian vocabulary is an essential part of learning the Italian language.

woman learning italian vocabulary

Along with Italian grammar, Italian vocabulary is the most important skill to know when you’re learning Italian. After all, you can’t actually use a new language without knowing the words, expressions and phrases that make up that language! The more Italian vocabulary you know, the more you’re able to talk about everything in your world — from what you do for work to your hobbies to your favorite colors and foods to the weather outside and everything in between.

Keep reading below to learn more about Italian vocabulary, or skip ahead to learn some of the most important Italian vocabulary words to get you started with the Italian language.

The Roots Of Italian Vocabulary

When it comes to vocabulary, you’re going to find a lot of words in Italian you already recognize. Italian is a Romance language, which means it derived from the vernacular Latin spoken by the common people in the Roman Empire. Of all the Romance languages today, it’s actually the closest to Latin, so if you’ve ever studied Latin, you’re already at an advantage learning Italian.

Many English words come directly or indirectly from Latin, so when you see the Italian words artista, università, educazione or credibile, for example, you’ll probably have no trouble guessing their English equivalents. On top of that, English borrows many words from Italian, too, especially in the realms of art and music terminology, for example. If you play the piano or the piccolo, you’re using Italian words already. There are even lots of fun words invented by Italian-Americans that illustrate how the two languages influence each other.

How Can I Improve My Italian Vocabulary?

There’s no right or wrong way to practice Italian vocabulary. The most important thing is that you find a way that works for you and helps you remember words and phrases when you need them most in conversation, writing or any other context.

Many people find it helpful to practice Italian vocabulary with flashcards. The typical Italian flashcard has an English word on one side and the Italian translation on the other, but you can write anything on either side of the cards — from definitions to example sentences using the word you’re learning.

Online learning sites like Quizlet are great for studying Italian vocabulary. When you use Quizlet Italian flashcards or the platform’s other games and tools, you can boost your memory retention and word recall, hone your spelling skills and practice Italian vocabulary in interactive, engaging ways.

Some people like to practice Italian vocabulary in more real-world ways. You might have heard of the sticky note method, where learners write the Italian word for items in their kitchens or living rooms on sticky notes, for example, and post them on those items to help them make the association with the Italian vocabulary word each time they look at or use that item. You can expand the system to label nearly everything in your home and to put notes of words you want to learn where you’re sure to see them, like on your shower door or on your ceiling above your bed for extra practice. This can be a really helpful Italian learning strategy for people who like to learn visually!

You can also recruit someone else to help you study Italian vocabulary. Have a friend, roommate or partner quiz you on word definitions and translations from a list you prepare. If you’re both learning Italian, challenge each other to review one list of vocabulary every day, and if one of you fails or falls behind, that friend owes the other a drink or a coffee, for example. Or point out different objects in your environment to each other and see who can name the most items in Italian without consulting a dictionary or other resource. There are so many ways to practice Italian vocabulary with another person, whether they’re learning Italian or not!

The most effective way to remember Italian vocabulary is to focus on the words and expressions that interest you the most instead of wasting time on vocabulary you find boring or will never actually use. You can tailor your Italian vocabulary to your careers, hobbies, passions and everyday experiences and fill in the gaps where you want more words. This could include Italian for business or the medical profession. Or perhaps you like talking about sports, the entertainment industry or politics. You can create your own specialized Italian vocabulary depending on what’s important to you in your learning journey.

   

Most Common Italian Vocabulary — Essential Italian Vocabulary Words By Topic

Get started with the basics of Italian vocabulary by checking out these themed lists of some of the most common Italian vocabulary words and phrases below!

Common Italian Phrases And Conversational Italian Vocabulary

From saying hello to introducing yourself to asking for the bathroom, you’ll want to know how to make a conversation run smoothly — whether you’re on an international adventure or just chatting up your new Italian-speaking friend. Here’s some essential conversational Italian vocabulary to get you started.

 

 

Looking for more of the most common Italian phrases and expressions for conversation? Learn more about useful common Italian phrases and conversational Italian vocabulary!

 

Colors In Italian

Roses are rosse, violets are blu, for the rest of the colors in Italian, here’s a handy guide for you. Learn all the colors of l’arcobaleno (the rainbow) with this list of Italian color vocabulary:

  • red — rosso
  • orange — arancione
  • yellow — giallo
  • green — verde
  • blue — blu
  • purple — viola
  • pink — rosa
  • brown — marrone
  • black — nero
  • white — bianco

 

Want to learn all the colors in Italian? Learn more Italian color vocabulary!

 

Numbers In Italian

Learning numbers in Italian will help you do everything from buying goods at the local supermarket to giving a cute stranger your phone number. The rules governing how to count in Italian are pretty straightforward, so with practice, it can be as easy as uno, due, tre! Learn the basics of Italian number vocabulary below:

  • zero — zero
  • one — uno
  • two — due
  • three — tre
  • four — quattro
  • five — cinque
  • six — sei
  • seven — sette
  • eight — otto
  • nine — nove

 

  • ten — dieci
  • eleven — undici
  • twelve — dodici
  • thirteen — tredici
  • fourteen — quattordici
  • fifteen — quindici
  • sixteen — sedici
  • seventeen — diciassette
  • eighteen — diciotto
  • nineteen — diciannove

 

  • twenty — venti
  • thirty — trenta
  • forty — quaranta
  • fifty — cinquanta
  • sixty — sessanta
  • seventy — settanta
  • eighty — ottanta
  • ninety — novanta
  • one hundred — cento

 

Learn more about numbers in Italian and the sometimes tricky rules about how to use them with this helpful guide to Italian numbers vocabulary!

 

Italian Food Vocabulary

Whether you’re deciphering a menu in Italy or following the steps of your favorite Italian recipe, you’ll want to know Italian food and drink vocabulary. Here are some basics to get you started:

  • to eat — mangiare
  • to drink — bere

 

food in italian cuisine

 
  • the starter/appetizer — l’antipasto
  • the main dish — il piatto principale
  • the dessert — il dessert

 

  • the meat — la carne
  • the beef — la carne di manzo
  • the pork — la carne di maiale
  • the chicken — il pollo
  • the fish — il pesce
  • the vegetables — le verdure
  • the fruit — la frutta
  • the potato — la patata
  • the cheese — il formaggio
  • the bread — il pane

 

  • the drink — la bevanda
  • the water — l’acqua
  • the juice — il succo
  • the coffee — il caffè
  • the wine — il vino
  • the beer — la birra
  • the tea — il tè

 

Want to be able to talk about all types of food and drink in Italian? Learn more Italian food vocabulary.

 

Animals In Italian

Whether you’re scared of spiders or a regular swimmer with the sharks, you can’t get by without knowing how to talk about animals in Italian. Check out this Italian animal vocabulary to help you talk about the natural world and the creatures that inhabit it:

  • the pet — l’animale domestico
  • the fur — il pelo
  • the farm animal — l’animale da fattoria
  • the sea creature — la creatura marina
  • the wild animal — l’animale selvaggio
  • the fish — il pesce
  • the dog — il cane
  • the cat — il gatto
  • the mouse — il topo
  • the rabbit — il coniglio
  • the duck — l’anatra
  • the chicken — la gallina
  • the cow — la vacca
  • the pig — il maiale
  • the horse — il cavallo
  • the bird — l’uccello
  • the penguin — il pinguino
  • the dolphin — *il delfino
  • the octopus — il polpo
  • the bear — l’orso
  • the wolf — il lupo
  • the snake — il serpente
  • the frog — la rana
  • the giraffe — la giraffa

 

To get to know more names of the animals in Italian, learn more Italian animal vocabulary!

 

Parts Of The Body In Italian

From your head to your shoulders to your knees to your toes, your body is a part of your everyday experience. So there’s no question you should learn Italian body part vocabulary; it’s a no-brainer. (Cue the eye roll.) Check out some important words below:

 

legs hanging off pier
 
  • the body part — la parte del corpo
  • the body — il corpo
  • the face — il viso

 

  • the foot — il piede
  • the arm — il braccio
  • the hand — la mano
  • the head — la testa
  • the finger — il dito
  • the leg — la gamba
  • the knee — *il ginocchio
  • the neck — il colo
  • the back — la schiena
  • the stomach — la pancia

 

  • the eyes — *gli occhi
  • the mouth — la bocca
  • the nose — il naso
  • the ear — l’orecchio
  • the tooth — il dente

 

Learn all you need to know about the parts of the body in Italian. Learn more about Italian body part vocabulary!

 

Feelings And Emotions In Italian

It can be tough to talk about your feelings in your native language, let alone a foreign one. But you know how to talk about moods, feelings and emotions in Italian, you’ll have the right words to express yourself when you’re happy, sad, angry and everything in between. Here’s some essential Italian emotions vocabulary to get you started:

  • the emotion — l’emozione
  • the feeling — il sentimento
  • the mood — l’umore
  • happy — felice
  • sad — triste
  • excited — emozionato
  • angry — arrabbiato
  • depressed — depresso
  • lonely — solo
  • satisfied — soddisfatto
  • proud — orgoglioso
  • upset — indignato
  • disappointed — deluso
  • nervous — nervoso
  • tired — stanco

 

  • the joy — la gioia
  • the love — l’amore
  • the hate — l’odio
  • the hope — la speranza
  • the sympathy — la compassione
  • the hunger — la fame
  • the thirst — la sete
  • the pain — il dolore
  • the fear — la paura

 

  • I like you. — Mi piaci.
  • I love you. — Ti amo.
  • I am in a good mood today. — Sono di buon umore oggi.
  • I’m afraid. — Ho paura.
  • Why are you sad? — Perché sei triste?
  • I am so unhappy. — Sono così infelice.

 

Learn more about Italian feelings and emotions vocabulary!

 

Hobbies In Italian

If you like to spend time doing something in your free time, you should learn how to talk about it! Filling your Italian vocabulary with expressions that let you speak passionately about your interests and hobbies will help you add some personal flair to your Italian repertoire. Here’s some Italian hobbies vocabulary you might want to know:

  • the book — il libro
  • the theater — il teatro
  • the play — l’opera teatrale
  • the musical — il musical

 

woman playing guitar
 
  • the painting — il dipinto
  • the museum — il museo
  • the photography — la fotografia
  • the gallery — la galleria d’arte
  • the photo — la oto
  • the drawing — il disegno

 

  • the music — la musica
  • the instrument — lo strumento
  • the guitar — la chitarra
  • the piano — il pianoforte

 

  • the game — il gioco
  • the puzzle — il rompicapo
  • the chess — gli scacchi
  • the card — la carta
  • the video game — il videogioco
  • the board games — il gioco in scatola

 

  • the sport — lo sport
  • the soccer — il calcio
  • the gymnasium — la palestra
  • the team — la squadra

 

  • to play — giocare
  • to go shopping — andare a fare la spesa
  • to eat out — mangiare fuori
  • to sing — cantare
  • to read — leggere
  • to dance — ballare
  • to paint — dipingere

 

  • What do you do in your free time? — Che fai nel tuo tempo libero?
  • Do you have any hobbies? — Hai qualche hobby?
  • Do you play an instrument? — Suoni uno strumento?
  • I like to listen to my music very loud. — Mi piace ascoltare la musica ad alto volume.
  • I like going to the theater to see plays and musicals? — Mi piace andare a teatro per vedere opere teatrali e musical.
  • I learn dancing in a dance course. — Imparo a ballare in un corso di danza.
  • I love going to restaurants. — Adoro andare al ristorante..

 

Want to know how to talk about all your different hobbies in Italian? Learn more about Italian hobbies vocabulary!

 

Italian Travel Vocabulary

When you’re ready to take your Italian on the go on your next vacation around the world, you’ll need some Italian travel vocabulary to help get you there. Make the most of your next adventure with these vocabulary terms to talk about vacations, transportation and travel in Italian:

  • the plane — l’aereo
  • the airport — l’aeroporto
  • the terminal — il terminal
  • the luggage — il bagaglio
  • the hand luggage — il bagaglio a mano
  • the departure — il decollo
  • the flight — il volo
  • the security check — il controllo di sicurezza
  • the connection — la coincidenza
  • the gate — il gate

 

  • the public transportation — il trasporto pubblico
  • the bus — l’autobus
  • the train — il treno
  • the train station — la stazione
  • the stop — la fermata
  • the ticket — il biglietto
  • the subway — la metro
  • the passenger — il passeggero
  • the timetable — l’orario

 

  • the car — l’automobile
  • the driver — l’autista
  • the bicycle — la bicicletta
  • the helmet — il casco
  • the key — la chiave
  • the driver’s license — la patente di guida

 

  • to drive — guidare
  • to park — parcheggiare
  • to land — atterrare
  • to check in — fare il check in
  • to board — imbarcarsi

 

Be better equipped to travel in Italian by learning more about Italian travel and transportation vocabulary!

 

Weather In Italian

There’s no better way to small talk than to chat about the weather. So when you’re looking to shoot the breeze in Italian, look no further than Italian weather vocabulary. Here are some words and terms you should know to talk about the weather in Italian:

  • the weather — il tempo
  • the weather forecast — le previsioni metereologiche
  • the climate — il clima
  • the degree — il grado
  • tropical — tropicale
  • temperate — temperato
  • cloudy — nuvoloso

 

spanish weather
 
  • the sunlight — la luce del sole
  • the rain — la pioggia
  • the cloud — la nuvola
  • the snow — la neve
  • the wind — il vento
  • the storm — la tempesta
  • the thunder — il tuono
  • the lightning — il fulmine

 

  • the season — la stagione
  • the spring — la primavera
  • the summer — l’estate
  • the autumn — l’autunno
  • the winter — l’inverno

 

  • the natural disaster — la catastrofe natural
  • the earthquake — il terremoto
  • the tsunami — lo tsunami
  • the flood — l’inondazione
  • the drought — la siccità
  • the fire — l’incendio

 

  • What is the weather like? — Che tempo fa?
  • The sun is shining. — C’è il sole.
  • The sky is cloudy. — **Il cielo è nuvoloso.
  • It stopped raining. — La pioggia ha smesso.
  • It was snowing all day. — Ha nevicato tutto il giorno.

 

Learn more about Italian weather vocabulary!

   

woman on phone learning italian vocabulary

Learning Italian Vocabulary With Babbel

Babbel makes learning and practicing Italian vocabulary easy, interactive and fun. Our Italian learning content is designed by language experts and teachers who know the best methods to build your Italian vocabulary skills and make sure they stick.

A variety of speaking, writing, reading and listening exercises reinforce all the elements of language learning so you’ll be ready to use the terms you’re learning in different situations.

Babbel lessons introduce new words and expressions in stages, focusing on vocabulary that applies in conversations with actual native speakers — not nonsensical or impractical words that you’ll never use. Almost every Babbel Italian lesson features a simulated dialogue that lets you use what you’ve learned in real-life contexts.

The Review feature brings back Italian vocabulary words from earlier lessons when you’re most at risk of forgetting them, helping you strengthen your word recall skills with interactive flashcard and spelling exercises.

Ready to get started learning Italian vocabulary? Try a free Italian lesson!

   

Check out our other topics about Italian:
Learn Italian
Italian Phrases
Italian Grammar
Best Way To Learn Italian
How To Speak Italian