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My Favorite Italian Slang Words & Phrases

Updated on June 16, 2015

Slang Makes Language Learning More Fun

If you're like me, you think learning slang words is one of the best parts about learning a new language. It can add a lot of spice and flavor to your Italian experience, and it just makes learning Italian more fun! Be warned, however, that these should be used carefully and are not intended for minors. If you would not say "Ciao!" to a person (i.e., you don't know them well, or they are older or seem sensitive), then you shouldn't use these around them either! But if you're hanging out with some Italian friends or your language classmates, then by all means, enjoy!

In order to avoid profanity, I can't provide the literal translations of these words. However, you can find all of the literal translations and their contexts in an Italian slang dictionary.

My Top 10 Italian Slang Words

1. Cazzo [CAHT-zoh]

Cazzo is the all-purpose Italian swear word, and it is the most commonly used swear word in Italian. Its literal meaning refers to a certain part of the male anatomy, but it can be used in all kinds of situations.

2. Coglioni [cohl-YOH-nee]

Coglioni also refers to a certain part of the male anatomy, and implies courage or boldness.

3. Merda [MEHR-dah]

This refers to excrement, like a common English swear word, and it is used in much the same way though it is not as common.

4. Stronzo [STROHN-zoh]

Stronzo literally means turd, but when used in reference to a person it is an insult.

5. Culo [COO-loh]

Culo refers to the backside. It also has a secondary meaning: luck or lucky.

6. Cazzata [caht-ZAH-tah]

This one is derived from cazzo, and it means something stupid or BS. So, "oh Dio, ho detto una cazzata," means, "Oh God, I said something stupid." The plural form is cazzate.

7. Vaffanculo [vah-fahn-COO-loh]

This one can be pretty rude, but that makes it a good way to get your point across. When someone won't leave you alone, telling them to "Vaffanculo!" is the same as telling them to "Get the hell out of here!" but the meaning is stronger than this English translation.

8. Puttana [poo-TAH-nah]

This means lady of the night, so it can be very insulting when used in the wrong way.

9. Figo [FEE-goh]

This is a slang word like the English word "Cool." It can be used for something you think is really cool or awesome, or to describe a hot guy. The feminine, figa, can be used to describe a hot girl, but be very careful using it because it is also a slang word for female genitalia. A "figata" is something that is really cool or great, so it is basically the opposite of a "cazzata."

10. Zitto [ZEE-toh]

"Zitto!" or "Stai zitto!" is a good way to tell someone, "Shut up!"

BONUS: Mannaggia [mah-NAH-jah]

Mannaggia is pretty mild, similar to "darn" or "heck." But with the right emphasis and feeling, it can be pretty satisfying.

Those are my top ten Italian slang words (plus a bonus word). As they can be considered racy or rude around some people, be careful who you use them around! Grazie and enjoy!

Italian Slang Books

For even more Italian slang, check out these books.

Text Message Shorthand in Italian

To send a text message is to "mandare un messagio" or "mandare un sms."

Here's a text message shorthand cheat sheet:

m —> mi

t —> ti

c —> ci

v —> vi

x —> per (to, for)

xké, xke —> perché (why, because)

ke —> che (that, which, what)

dv —> dove (where)

km —> come (how)

ks —> cosa (what, thing)

ki —> chi (who)

qnd —> quando (when)

xó —> peró (but)

anke —> anche (also)

nn —> non (not)

frs —> forse (maybe, perhaps)

cmq —> comunque (anyway, however)

c 6? —> ci sei? (are you there?)

dv 6? —> dove sei? (where are you?)

tvtb —> ti voglio tanto bene (I really care about you)

xxx —> tanti baci (many kisses)

mmt+ —> mi manchi tantissimo (I miss you so much)

t tel + trd —> ti telefono più tardi (I’ll call you later)

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    • profile image

      vitale 2 years ago

      great to see some of the slang.. miss one... wild goat. giggle

    • profile image

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    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      Hopefully there are nicer words and be assured polite people do not say most of the listed one, even in Italy.

    • profile image

      Margot_C 4 years ago

      What a great idea for a lens. Will have to practice some of these tomorrow when I'm stuck in traffic.

    • fatlossforflatabs profile image

      fatlossforflatabs 5 years ago

      Fun lens. We were on the Amalfi coast this Summer and I should have read this first!

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 5 years ago

      Figo lens, grazie :) -joanna

    • MartyW1 profile image

      MartyW1 5 years ago

      Hey, nice looking Squidoo lense you have here. I also love language and can speak Thai, buy yet to learn any European language. I thought maybe you may like this website that I found that covers this topic

    • desa999 lm profile image

      desa999 lm 5 years ago

      This was most appropriate as I am just starting to learn Italian.Nice lens

    • Bigdaddyguru profile image

      Bigdaddyguru 5 years ago

      I'm a graduate of what's a matta U, so I'm familiar with all these terms

    • nyclittleitaly profile image

      nyclittleitaly 5 years ago

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      agent009 6 years ago

      I'm not Italian but I watch enough Sopranos to learn it!

    • vecchios-sicilian profile image

      vecchios-sicilian 6 years ago

      Enjoyed your lens very much. Only Italians can make cursing sound good! Being Italian I heard em all.

    • tobydavis profile image

      tobydavis 6 years ago

      Cool Italian lens!

    • Glenn619 profile image

      Glenn619 6 years ago

      Yippee learn t some Italian slang words :p