- Education and Science
Italian Swear Words (for Polite Society)
The most useful euphemisms for Italian curse words
"You didn't really say that, did you?!"Okay, so perhaps I am a prude, but swearing truly bothers me, in any language. Whereas others might assail one another with flying f-words and references to bodily excrements, I am more partial to genteelisms. And let's be honest - euphemisms are often far more entertaining and effective than swear words themselves!It is on this note that I welcome you to Italian Swear Words for Polite Society, the one page where you will find every imaginable politically-correct swear word in the language of love. If you are looking for hard core curse words in Italian, I suggest you to look here and here. Visit at your own risk.
Are you able to speak Italian?
Moments of Surprise and Shock
In Italian, you are spoilt for choice in ways to express your surprise. Conveniently, these words can be used for both negative surprises (discovering that your friend is in hospital) or positive surprises (receiving a lovely gift or marriage proposal). Simply pick a handful of favourites and use them until your heart's content! **Keep in mind that these expressions are pretty much interchangeable just like their equivalents in English.
Caspita! Gosh! Example: Caspita, che bel regalo! (Gosh, what a nice gift!)
Madonna mia! Oh my Lord! (literally: Oh my Madonna) Example: Madonna mia, che spavento! (Oh my Lord, what a shock!)
Cavolo! Gosh! (literally: cabbage) Example: Cavolo! Non sapevo che ci fossi tu. (Gosh, I didn't know you were here!)
Mamma mia! Oh my! Example: Mamma mia, quanto sei cresciuto! (My, how you've grown!)
Oh mio Dio! Oh my God! Example: Oh mio Dio! Si e' rotto un braccio! (Oh my God. He broke his arm!)
Madonna Santa! Holy cow! (literally: Saint Mary!) Example: Madonna Santa, pesa un kilo! (Holy cow, it weights a ton!)
Accipicchia! My goodness! (literally: Hit it!) Example: Accipicchia! Che paesaggio fantastico! (My goodness. What a fantastic view!)
Accidenti! Wow! Example: Accidenti, che partita! (Wow, what a game!)
Per Bacco! My word! Example: Per Bacco, che festa! (My word, what a party!)
Mizzica! Holy cow! Example: Mizzica, che bella ricetta! (Holy cow, what a great recipe!)
Moments of Anger and Annoyance
You're walking down the street when your faithful canine companion decides to take a quick bath in a conveniently placed mud puddle. You walk into your bedroom to find that the same dog has ripped your new curtains to shreds. And your dish of homemade spaghetti? Well, you might as well just order a pizza at this point. Now, as an upstanding member of polite Italian society, you know that swear words simply aren't the way to express your anger and annoyance. Enter these great Italian euphemisms for swear words! With these expressions, you will soon be able to express your anger and annoyance without the risk of fare una brutta figura(making a bad impression).
Cavolo! Darn! Example: Oh cavolo, ho rovinato il mio vestito. (Darn, I ruined my dress.)
Mannaggia! Darn it! Example: Mannaggia, non riesco a smettere di fumare. (Darn it, I can't stop smoking.)
Accidenti. Crud. Example: Accidenti, ho perso il treno. (Crud, I missed the train.)
Che barba. What a drag. (literally: What a beard.) Example: Che barba, non ho piu' soldi. (What a drag, I don't have any money.)
Che pizza. Oh man. (literally: What a pizza.) Example: Che pizza, dobbiamo aspettare due ore. (Oh man, we have to wait two hours.)
Che palle! What a pain! (literally: What balls!) Example: Che palle. Non trovo il mio portafoglio. (What a pain. I can't find my wallet.)
Che rottura di scatole/palle. What a pain. (literally: What a breakage of boxes/balls.) Example: Che rottura di scatole. E' cominciato a piovere. (What a pain. It's starting to rain.)
Cazzarola! Darn! (literally: casserole) Example: Cazzarola, sono in ritardo. (Darn, I'm late.)
Cacchio! Darn! (literally: poo) Example: Cacchio, non ho finito i compiti. (Darn, I didn't finish my homework!)
How to tell someone to "get lost" in Italian
Keep the pests away with these great euphemisms
As there are harsher ways of saying "get lost" in English, likewise there are extremely nasty ways of saying the same in Italian. If you prefer avoiding swear words as I do, you will probably be in need of some useful swear word substitutes! Here is a list which will surely tickle your fancy.
Vai a fare un bagno!(literally: Go take a bath!)
Vai a quel paese!(literally: Go to that country!)
Vai a cantare in un altro cortile!(literally: Go and sing in another courtyard!)
Vai dove devi andare!(literally: Go where you have to go!)
Levati dai piedi/scatole!(literally: Get off my feet/boxes!)
Joey swears at Chandler on Friends - The nicest way tell your friend to "get lost"!
In this episode, Joey tells his best friend Chandler to vaffanapoli, a hilarious euphemism for a much stronger expression in Italian which you would only use if you were truly irked at someone. Vaffanapoli doesn't actually exist in real life, but it is a good example of how Italians creatively corrupt their swear words to create genteelisms.
The Language of Pork and Pigs - The use of the word "Porca" to express anger and upset
For some unknown reason, Italians love to use the word "porco/porca" to express their annoyance, which literally means "pork" or "swine." In fact, they will add just about any word onto the end of "porco/a" to turn it into a swear word. Of course, among the immense selection, there are nasty expressions and nice expressions. As you might have guessed, on this page, we are dealing solely with the nice!The meaning of "porco/a + random word" sits along the lines of the English dash it, darn it, and oh bother.
Porca miseria! Literally: Pork misery!
Porca vacca! Literally: Pork cow!
Porco mondo! Literally: Pork world!
Porca Martina! Literally: Pork Martina!
Porco Giuda! Literally: Pork Jude!
Zio porco! Literally: Uncle pork!
Porco cane! Literally: Pork dog!
Porca puzzola! Literally: Pork skunk!
Gastronomy as a replacement for cursing - The Italian love for food extends beyond the stomach
While English people refer to bodily excrements and places of eternal damnation to curse and insult others, the Italians, not so surprisingly, often turn to food for inspiration. When you're bored, you might say you're having a pizza of a time, whereas the person who just got you in a fender bender probably probably has a head made of rapa or pumpkin. To see a full list of fun and family-friendly Italian swear words and insults using food, just look below!
*Pizza* = Pizza
Che pizza! = What a bore!/Oh man...
*Cavolo* = Cabbage
Mah, che cavolo vuoi? (What on earth do you want?)
Col cavolo ci vado! (I'll go over my dead body!)
Non me ne frega un cavolo! (I don't care one bit!)
Fatti i cavoli tuoi! (Mind your own beeswax!)
Hai una testa di cavolo! (You are a knucklehead!)
*Zucca* = Pumpkin
Hai la zucca vuota! (You're a blockhead!)
*Rapa* = Turnip
Hai proprio una testa di rapa! (You're a real pinhead!)
*Capperi* = Capers"Ah capperi, non lo sapevo! (Gosh, I didn't know!)
More Resources About 'Polite Swearing' in Italian - You'll sound musical even when you're fed up!
- Italian Swear Words - Jessica's 8 Favourites from ItalyLogue
A fun list of mild curse words, with one or two red hot numbers thrown in there to get the crowds gasping! She has even included sound bites so you can hear how they are pronounced.
- Tips for the Traveler in Italy - Comebacks and Curse Words in Italian
This blog post starts out with the nicer swear words and then moves into the nasty. If you want to stay nice, keep to the top of the page!
- Dialetto Romano da Ridere: Insulti e Minacce
Funny insults in the Roman dialect. I admire their creativity! (Italian only)
- Insulti e Parolacce in Dialetto Milanese
An entire list of insults from the Milan dialect. (Italian only)