You are learning Italian, and you already know how to use the most common Italian words and phrases to survive during your holiday in Italy. Now, to mingle better with the culture and people, you might want to learn Italian slang and how to use it

You can find some Italian slang words that are widely used across the country and others that are more typical of a region or a specific area: for example, in northern Italy, the slang can be quite different from that used in the south!

Understanding and mastering Italian slang terms is the best way to connect with locals and get a deeper understanding of the culture. It will also enable you to express thoughts and ideas just like a local would.

Italian slang words and phrases

Let’s say you’ve just finished your Italian language course in Italy and you want to start practicing with native speakers. Beyond basic grammar and conversational phrases, you might want to spice up your conversations with some Italian slang. Here’s an overview of some common Italian slang words and phrases widely understood nationwide.

  • Dai!: Come on!  It’s used to show exasperation or to give encouragement.
  • Non fare così, dai! – Don’t do that, come on!
  • Magari!: I wish! and it’s used when you wish that something will happen. 
  • Boh!: I don’t know, who knows, or even whatever. 
  • Mannaggia!: Damn it!
  • Non esiste!: No way!
  • Figurati!: No worries, no problem 
  • Prendere in giro: teasing
  • Mi stai prendendo in giro? Are you kidding me?
  • Essere tra le nuvole: being on the clouds, means being a daydream
  • Un sacco: a lot.
  • Mai una gioia! It means, never a happy thing! It is an expression of disappointment.
  • Meno male! Thank goodness!

Regional Slang

Italian slang terms can vary substantially from north to south, and from region to region, depending on the local culture and dialect. Every region has its own unique words and expressions, which can differ greatly. It can even happen that people from Lazio cannot understand someone speaking in very strict Venetian slang for example! Here you can find an overview to better understand the Italian language’s variety and how it differs from region to region.

In Venice, they use a distinctive Northern Italian slang.
In Venice, they use a distinctive Northern Italian slang.

Now, some of the most popular slang expressions in northern, central, and southern Italy.

Northern Italy

  • Che Sbatti! What a hassle 
  • Ti fa le robe a la carlona: to do things in a careless way 
  • Alzemo i tachi: to leave 
  • Belin: can be used in many cases, mainly as an exclamation to express surprise or disbelief. Can be similar to “Holy cow” 
  • Essere preso bene/preso male: this is used to express a feeling when you like to do something you are “preso bene”; while, when you are not happy with a situation or something you have to do, you use preso male 
  • Paglia: cigarettes 
  • Veccio, reffite: it means, old man, wake up! 
  • Magna e tasi!: eat and shut up 
  • A mò: Still, so long 
  • Ma va là!: Come on! I can’t believe it!
  • Bon, Va bon!: It’s ok! 

Central Italy

  • Bischero: a silly person 
  • Fare una bischerata: to do something foolish
  • Furia: in a hurry  
  • Daje!: It’s like Dai! 
  • Stai Manzo! Control yourself, relax 
  • Ndo cojo cojo: wherever I go, without a specific target 
  • Un bel po’: a lot 
  • I moscioli: the mussles 
  • Scialla! A Sciallo!: to take something easy, relaxed 
  • Monello: kid, brat
  • Ammazza!: Wow, Geez! 
  • Pettinà le bambole: literally, brushing dolls’ hair. It’s sarcastically used in Rome if you want to say doing something useless.
  • Andamo/ annamo!: let’s go!

Southern Italy and Islands

  • Scugnizzo: street urchin
  • Guagliò!: boy, guy 
  • Pummarola: tomatoes, tomato sauce
  • Statt’bun: goodbye, thanks 
  • Vattinne Va: go away!!! It’s used pretty much in the whole south of Italy
  • Amunì: let’s go, hurry up 
  • Camurria: pain in the neck, something annoying 
  • Ajò!: come’on, let’s go 
  • Eja: yes

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Italian slang in soccer

Soccer is one of Italians’ favorite activities, and they never miss a match during the Serie A championship. Naturally, since Italian is known for its colorful expressions, some slang terms have made their way into the common phrases used by football commentators. 

Let’s take a look at the most famous and amusing slang words in soccer.

  • Buttala dentro! It means, sticking the ball in the net
  • Colpo di tacco: back heels
  • Il cucchiaio: it means spoon, literally, and it refers to a penalty kick, because of an expression used by Francesco Totti during Euro 2000 in Amsterdam.
  • Il liscio: the smooth. It refers to when a player completely misses the ball during a kick.
  • Il panchinaro: a player that is usually on the bench.
  • Zona Cesarini: it refers to a goal scored in the very last minutes of the match.
  • Il tridente: a tactical setup formation, typically 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 where three attacking players form the forward line. 
  • Gol di rapina: it’s a goal scored by taking advantage of an error from the opponent. Rapina means “robbery”.
  • La rovesciata: it’s the upside-down kick.
During the digital age a new Italian slang has emerged
In Italy, a unique slang of the digital age has emerged

Italian slang in the digital age

When it comes to the abbreviations that young people often use in their mobile phone messages, it’s important to note that these terms are an extreme simplification of the Italian language. Such abbreviations are not appropriate for written texts intended for professors or official documents. Knowing that these words exist and their meaning can help us understand the world of youth, but for the moment this remains a very questionable Italian. Who knows in 10 or 20 years. Language is always evolving… for better or for worse.

As with everything, the advent of the digital era and the use of social media and the internet as fundamental parts of our lives have led the Italian language to adapt. Consequently, many new Italian slang terms have entered common vocabulary, often originating from English words that have been re-adapted into Italian.

The impact of technology on slang

Technology has introduced a completely new set of words, including neologisms, abbreviations, and even a more frequent use of alphabet letters that are not typically used in Italian. 

For example, the letter “X” is commonly used in written form to replace the word “per,” along with other popular abbreviations in written content:

  • Sto x andare a cena (I am about to go for dinner).
  • cmq (anyway)
  • xké (why, because)

List of key slang words in technology

  • Bannare: to ban.
  • Followare: to follow.
  • Shoppone: someone who spends a lot of money online.
  • Droppare: to drop.
  • Trollare: to troll.
  • Ghostare: to disappear (to ghost someone).
  • Shippare: used to express appreciation for a romantic couple.
  • Snitchare: to snitch, to inform someone about something.
  • Chattare: to chat with someone.
  • Streammare: to stream content online.
  • Viralizzare: expanding through widespread digital dissemination.

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Practical Guide to Using Italian Slang

Including some slang words in your Italian vocabulary can be a great advantage when you want to better integrate with locals. However, it might be misunderstood if overused, and you must be careful about how and when you use these Italian slang terms.

Learning Italian Slang

Let’s see some suggestions on how to properly understand and learn Italian slang.

Start learning the most common slang

Don’t rush. Learn one common and easy slang word at a time.

Learn Italian from a native Italian teacher

The best way to learn to speak Italian is to practice with a native Italian teacher. They will be up to date with the latest expressions and can help you to utilize slang words in different situations.

Take part in local activities and meet-ups

A great way to make new friends and practice your Italian skills is by joining local activities and meet-ups. You can connect with other students, enjoy an “aperitivo,” share a pizza with Italian friends, or simply have a coffee at a bar and start practicing your Italian.

Watch Italian movies or listen to songs 

Online, you can find endless material to watch or listen to learn how to use Italian slang words in different contexts. Watch a video, or one of the latest Italian movies, or listen to a radio station to become more confident with the language. In this article, you will find some famous Italian songs to get acquainted with the language.

Do’s and Don’ts

Be careful, when using slang words, to follow a sort of etiquette. For example, on certain occasions is not appropriate to use it, especially with older people or in formal meetings. Let’s take a look at the do’s and don’ts of using Italian slang.

Using Italian slang can be fun, but it’s important to be mindful of the dos and don’ts

Understand the context

Make sure you are in the right context to use slang, such as a friendly and informal environment where others are also using slang words.

Be careful with regional differences

Use the appropriate regional variation of the word, and stay up-to-date. You can always double-check on Google, or ask someone when in doubt. 

Be respectful

Slang words can be funny, but make sure to use them respectfully, as they can become offensive.

Be up to date with it

Nowadays words are changing quickly, especially among young people. Be sure to be updated with the latest slang terms.

Don’t overuse it

Excessive use of slang can be off-putting, especially in inappropriate situations, such as a professional environment.

Be careful to use strong terms

Some slang words can have strong meanings. Before using them make sure you fully understand their meanings and connotations.


You can have a lot of fun using slang words, and it will be a sign of your growing confidence in the Italian language. Be sure you are learning from a native teacher, who can also assist you in understanding when it’s appropriate to use a term or when it’s not. The best way to improve your knowledge of slang is to take part in individual Italian language lessons or enroll in an online course tailored to your needs.