Want to sound more Italian or want to know why Italians say ‘Magari’ all the time? Here are the Top 10 Italian Expressions Italians Love Saying.
Counting how many times a day Italians use some of the following expressions would be an interesting experiment! These Italian expressions are all very typical, and you hear them all the time in colloquial Italian. By using any of the following expressions you will sound very Italian. Che bello!
Some of these expressions may stay with you for life if you say them often enough. Even after having moved to London from Rome two years ago I still find myself saying Boh!.
1. Mamma mia!
Mamma mia! (mahm-mah mee-ah) don’t think that all Italians are babies calling for their mommies! In fact, the literal translation is something like “Oh Mama!” and Italians use the exclamation to express surprise, impatience, happiness or sorrow. The figurative translation is similar too “My goodness!”.
2. Che bello!
Che bello! (keh behl-loh) literally means ‘how beautiful!’ but is used to mean ‘How lovely!’or ‘How nice!’. Use this phrase to show that you’re enthusiastic about something.
Uffa! (oohf-fah) is used to express annoyance, boredom, anger, or when you’re fed up with a situation. In English, you’d probably express the same by exhaling in exasperation.
4. Che ne so!/Boh!
When Italians want to say that they have no idea about something, they shrug their shoulders and say “Che ne so!” (keh neh soh) meaning “How should I know?” and just say boh! (boh). These are both highly popular expressions.
Magari! (mah-gah-ree) Just one word can express so much! It indicates a strong wish or hope. It’s a good answer, for instance, if somebody asks you if you’d like to win a Ferrari. A good translation of this word is “If only!” or “I’d love too!”
6. Ti sta bene!
Ti sta bene! (tee stah beh-neh) is the Italian way to say “Serves you right!” But this can also mean: “It looks good on you!,” depending on the context.
7. Non te la prendere!
If you see that somebody is sad, worried, or upset, you can try to console them by saying “Non te la prendere!” (nohn teh lah prehn-deh-reh) meaning “Don’t get so upset!” or “Don’t take it to heart”.
8. Che macello!
Figuring out the derivation of this phrase is not difficult. The literal translation of Che macello! (keh mah-chehl-loh) is “What a slaughterhouse!”/. Italians usually say this in situations in which an English speaker would say “What a mess!”
9. Non mi va!
Non mi va! (nohn mee vah) is one of the first phrases Italian children learn. It means that you don’t want to do something. The best translation is “I don’t feel like it!”.
10. Mi raccomando!
With Mi raccomando! (mee rahk-koh-mahn-doh), you express a special emphasis in asking for something — like saying “Please, I beg you!”. An example is “Telefonami, mi raccomando!” (“Don’t forget to call me, please!”).
Excerpts from Italian For Dummies
Over to you!
How many of these Italian expressions have you heard in Italy? What others would you add to this list?
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