Italian slang is a mystery to many, but it’s also essential for your cultural experience here in Italy. Here is a list of fun Italian words that will introduce you to some of Perugia’s most commonly heard expressions.
Meaning: so, then, now, therefore
Probably one of the most popular words here at Umbra, especially among our faculty!
Example: You’re about to tell a story/joke to your friend group.
Or, your professor is about to delve into the complexities of Roman archaeology.
Meaning: Stop/come on
A great way to express joy, anger, frustration, or even surprise. ‘Basta’ is used on a daily basis by all Italians. If you hear Italians exclaiming “daaaiiii” (pronounced “die”), it’s not as dramatic as it sounds, and is often said playfully or in response to someone insisting you eat more food than you wanted.
Example: You’re playing Uno and someone puts down another +4.
Ma dai! Basta!
Usually used to express friendly disagreement.
Example: Your friend is trying to steal parmiggiano from your plate.
Eh no cocca, chi ti credi di essere? (Oh no honey, who do you think you are?)
Pronounced: ‘wae’, usually lengthened for emphasis, very similar to the Mexican güey or we(y)
Meaning: hey man, this is too much food, this food looks delicious, calm down, I disagree with you, look at that, you’re exaggerating
Example: You’re at a local pizzeria being served a beautiful homemade pizza.
Weeeee, che buono!
Costa più che il sale a Perugia
Meaning: this is so expensive
Another phrase commonly found in Perugia. This expression has been used since the Salt War (1540) imposed by the Papal States: Perugia’s autonomy was abolished by the Pope’s decision to increase the price of salt to further weaken Perugia’s economy after a bad harvest season.
Meaning: let’s go
Perugian slang 101: an essential word for everyday use.
Example: Your friend asks if you want to go get another gelato.
Ma che domanda è, gimo!
Meaning: after you, you’re welcome, take a seat
Example: You’re queueing up for MiniMetro tickets and the cashier calls you over.
Venga pure, prego.
Come join us in Perugia to gain a first hand experience and fully submerge yourself in Italian culture. Learn more fun Italian words and expressions with our language classes (all levels available: from beginner to advanced). More information can be found on our website.
About the Author:
Sara is interning with the Umbra Institute through ISI Abroad as part of her gap year experience. A bilingual native of England and Italy, she’s traveled the globe seeking to learn diverse cultural and historical perspectives. She’ll be your guide this summer as you plan for your study experience in Perugia.