Home Language HacksItalian 40+ Italian BAD Words with DIRTY DOUBLE Meanings + 📚 FREE PDF Cheat-Sheet

40+ Italian BAD Words with DIRTY DOUBLE Meanings + 📚 FREE PDF Cheat-Sheet

From hidden insults to swear words in Italian, avoid THESE commonly mispronounced Italian words

by Michele
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Italian Bad Words with Double Meanings (PDF Cheat-Sheet)
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Italian is DANGEROUS! On the surface, Italian is famous all over the world for its seductive musicality that to the untrained ear, is often compared to singing or even poetry.  However, there is a darker side that lies  deeper in the language that many Italian learners don’t know about!

From Italian phrases with diabolic double-meanings, to cringe-worthy insults, are you sure you’re saying these Italian words correctly? Or are you unknowingly offending people? In this guide, we’ll look at the most common Italian words that could get you in trouble. 

Before we get started, make sure you download your FREE cheat-sheet for this lesson which includes all the Italian bad words and phrases you’ll see below. Just enter your email below and I’ll send it to you straight away.

Keep practising!
40+ Italian BAD Words Cheat-Sheet! (Free PDF Download)

Don't let the learning stop here. Download your free PDF guide to 40+ Italian bad words with dirty double meanings and avoid future embarrassment. Impariamo insieme! (Let's learn together!)

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When learning Italian, it is only natural to run into situations where you stop and scratch your chin while asking yourself how do I say… in Italian?

Of course, this is part of the learning curve, and to dig one’s way out of this hole it is only natural to look for the most logical solution. In many cases, speakers may revert back to their native language, in this case English, and ‘Italianize’ it in the hope that it exists – sometimes it actually works!

Here are some examples:

  • Problem — problema
  • Concert — concerto
  • Animal — animale
  • Fantastic — fantastico
  • Music — musica

So keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and false friends even closer. The problem is when this strategy doesn’t work and a whole pandora’s box of linguistic mayhem is unleashed. From utter gibberish to insults and sexual innuendos, these Italian bad words are called false friends and constitute a dangerous minefield of embarrassment that you should avoid.

What is a false friend?

What exactly do we mean by a false friend? A false friend is a word or expression that has a similar form to one in a person’s native language, but a different meaning. In this case, some Italian words might look similar to an English word but mean something completely different! 

Here are some examples:

  • Library — libreria? No! Library — biblioteca 
  • Argument — argomento? No! Argument — discussione

For more examples, watch my video on Italian cognates and loanwords.

Here’s your guide to avoid fare una figura di merda (making a fool of yourself)! 

Italian Bad Words: At the grocery store or restaurant

Italy is the number one destination for its culinary brilliance and overloaded carbohydrate paradise. Of course, Italians passionately love their food (perhaps too passionately!) so it’s not surprising that many food items can actually be used to refer to something completely different and naughty!

Here are some examples:

  • Finocchio – Fennel – commonly used to say ‘f*ggot’
  • Farfallina – little butterfly shaped pasta – ‘p*ssy’
  • Fava – Broad bean – another way to say ‘d*ck’
  • Pisello – pea – d*ck
  • Patata – potato – p*ssy
  • Marroni – chestnuts – balls
  • Pesce – fish – d*ck
  • Ditalini pasta – f*ngering
  • Zucchina – zucchini – d*ck
  • Banana – banana – d*ck

Context is key, so be sure to digest these double-meanings and to always chew your food. The last thing you need in a fancy Italian restaurant is to choke on a fava. 

Other food-related words that are easily mispronounced

Italian Bad Words - fico, penne, preservativi

Sometimes the problem lies in the way a word is pronounced. Accidentally getting just one letter wrong can put you in a really uncomfortable and embarrassing situation. Have a look at these words:

  • A Fico is a ‘fig’ but if you say ficaby mistake you’ll end up saying ‘p*ssy’
  • Penne refers to either penne pasta or pens – if you don’t double the N and say pene, this means ‘d*ck’!
  • Preservativi – no, it doesn’t mean preservatives, in Italian this word means ‘condoms’. If you want to talk about preservatives, use conservantiinstead!
  • Pecorino is a type of cheese but if you misplace just one letter and say pecorina –  you’ve just said ‘doggy-style’.
  • Cozze means ‘mussels’ but is often misspelled or mispronounced as cazzowhich means ‘d*ck’! One of the most common Italian swear words.
  • Calzone typical Italian folded pizza, but make sure you pronounce the L otherwise it sounds like you’re saying cazzonewhich means ‘big d*ck’!
  • Carne means ‘meat’, however, make sure you roll the R or you’ll end up saying canewhich means ‘dog’!

Be extra careful when ordering food in Italian because if you ask the waiter for pecorina on your pene you will definitely raise a few eyebrows.

Italian Bad Words: Animals

Not even animals can escape having a rude double-meaning in Italian. It’s usually a case of substituting the final letter which creates the double meaning. For example, an innocent topo’, which means ‘mouse’, can become ‘topa to mean ‘p*ssy’. 

If you happen to have a pet mouse at home, be extra careful when telling your Italian friends how much you love playing with your mouse.

Here are some more examples of animals with double meaning using its original spelling.

  • Micia – female cat – meaning ‘p*ssy’
  • Pesce – fish – ‘d*ck’
  • Uccello – bird – ‘d*ck’
  • Maiale – pig – ‘swine’

Italian Bad Words - micia, pesca, uccello, maiale

Some other occasions to be careful with the pronunciation include:

  • Passero means ‘sparrow’,  however, passerameans ‘p*ssy’
  • Cane means ‘dog’, if you accidently double the N you’re saying ‘canne’ which means ‘joints’, and I don’t mean where bones meet, but rolled cannabis cigarettes!
  • Maiala means ‘pig’, but if you say maialait means both female pig (sow) but also ‘sl*t’

Tip: If you want to say ‘pork’, don’t say ‘porco’ because this word only means ‘swine’, say maiale(= pig) instead. ‘Porco‘ is used in several Italian curse words, such as ‘porca miseria‘ and ‘porca troia‘.

Italian Bad Words - passera, cane, maiala

Italian Bad Words: At the music store

If you’re a music lover, these ones are for you. Whether you’re at a concert or shopping in a music store, more double-meanings are lurking around every corner. Want to ask a shop assistant for a trumpet? Be careful how you ask them for a tromba. Here’s why:

  • Trombare – it sounds like trombawhich means ‘trumpet’ but if you want to say ‘play the trumpet’ never say trombareas it means ‘to f*ck’
  • Bocchino is a mouthpiece, but be careful, it can also mean ‘bl*wjob’
  • Clarinetto is a clarinet however, it’s often used to say ‘d*ck’

Italian Bad Words - trombare, bocchino, clarinetto

Italian Bad Words: Around the Home

More words with double meanings are found at home too! If you’re cleaning the house and need your Italian roommate to sweep the kitchen, expect them to spit out their coffee if you ask them to scopare (‘sweep’) in the kitchen. Why? Even though scopare means ‘to sweep’, it’s a rather colloquial way of saying ‘to f*ck’! Who would have thought, right? Here are some more:

  • Tetti/tette tetti means ‘roofs’ while ‘tette’ means ‘t*ts’
  • Una sega means ‘a saw’ but it also means ‘to masterbate’ or ‘h*ndjob’, it’s all in the motion
  • Cesso is a sh*thole which people may use when talking about a toilet but if you call a person a cessoit means they are ‘ugly’
  • Cagare means ‘to sh*t’, a rather vulgar way to say ‘to poo’

By now, the only safe place to hide from these embarrassing double meanings seems to be in our sleep! Not so fast!

Which reminds me, how do you say ‘pollution’ in Italian? Polluzione? Not quite, it’s a false friend! ‘Polluzioneis a wet dream whereas ‘inquinamentois the Italian word for pollution. 

Italian Bad Words - tetti, una sega, cesso, cagare

There are many, many more Italian bad words…

  • Alzabandiera literally means, flag-raising ceremony but is this is commonly used to referred to as ‘morning wood’
  • Vai a quel paese literally means ‘go to your country’ but many Italians use this expression to say ‘f*ck off’
  • Membro means ‘member’ but also d*ck
  • La bottega means ‘small local shop’ but also fly/zipper. If you want to tell your friend that their zipper is open you can say ‘hai la bottega aperta!’ which means ‘your zipper’s open’
  • Mettersi a 90 gradi literally means to ‘place oneself at 90 degrees’, meaning to bend over
  • Godere means ‘to enjoy’, but make sure you never ask someone ‘stai godendo?’ which can be literally translated as ‘are you enjoying yourself?’ meaning ‘are you pleasuring yourself?’
  • Sto venendo literally means ‘I’m coming’. Avoid saying this when you are running late as it almost always refers to the sexual meaning. Instead, say ‘sto arrivando’ (= I on my way, I’ll be there soon) 
  • Limonare, literally ‘to lemon’ meaning ‘to make out’
  • Metterlo dietro  literally means ‘to put/place it behind’ in other words, to penetrate from behind
  • Andare a letto literally means ‘to go to bed’. This can refer to just going to bed to sleep but also to have sex with someone.
  • Andare insieme literally means ‘to go together’. Its meaning can vary depending on the region, in some places it might mean ‘to kiss’ and in other places ‘to have sex’!

There’s an infinite amount of semantic trap doors that learners of Italian are bound to fall into eventually. Sure, it’s embarrassing, but the majority of Italian speakers see the funny side and won’t be offended if you slip up.

So laugh along with them, even when your face turns cherry red from embarrassment— it’s a great learning experience and you’re more likely to not repeat these types of mistakes again! As an old proverb says, ‘only he who does nothing makes a mistake’.

Keep practising!
40+ Italian BAD Words Cheat-Sheet! (Free PDF Download)

Don't let the learning stop here. Download your free PDF guide to 40+ Italian bad words with dirty double meanings and avoid future embarrassment. Impariamo insieme! (Let's learn together!)

I promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
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⚠️ Italian Words with DIRTY DOUBLE Meanings ❌

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40+ Italian BAD Words (Plus PDF Cheat-Sheet)


Over to you!

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