My Favorite Italian Slang Words & Phrases
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)
xkÃ©, xke —> perchÃ© (why, because)
ke —> che (that, which, what)
dv —> dove (where)
km —> come (how)
ks —> cosa (what, thing)
ki —> chi (who)
qnd —> quando (when)
xÃ³ —> perÃ³ (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 piÃ¹ tardi (I’ll call you later)