15 common Italian slang words you need to know

Italian slang words

Did you know that there are many slang terms and idioms in Italian that are commonly used in everyday language? You would be surprised to learn just how many Italian slang words there are!

When you learn Italian, it is important to know that slang terms are a big part of the culture. You’ll really want to learn these terms if you want to fit in with the locals! 

A trip to Italy is simply incomplete without a visit to the quaint eateries and hangouts. To ensure you can have some fair conversation and get along with Italian communities, we look at the most popular Italian words and their English translation


  • Dai!

If you want to tell someone to come on in Italian, you can use the expression dai! It is a commonly used term. 

  • Boh!

One of the most common Italian slang words is boh!, which means: “I don’t know”

  • Che figata

When you find something impressive, you can use the Italian term Che figata. This means: “how cool.” 

  • Prendere la palla al balzo

The term prendere la palla al balzo, is translated as “to take the ball at the bounce.” It means to take the bull by the horns in English, in which one should seize an opportunity. 

  • A fagiolo

This is directly translated to “to the bean”. You would use this when describing something that falls into place at the right moment and time.

  • Che palle!

Che palle! Is an expression of annoyance and means “a pain in the behind!”. Be sure to use this phrase in the correct context or some senior Italians may not be too impressed!

  • Amore a prima vista

This means ‘love at first sight.’

  • Meno male

Express a huge sigh of relief when you use meno male. This reflects the phrase in English: “Thank goodness!”

  • Essere un guastafeste

When you wish to refer to someone who places a damper on a party, otherwise known as a “party pooper” in English, you would say: Un guastafeste 

  • In boca al lupo

You can wish someone the best of luck when you say in boca al lupo. Although this is considered a more superstitious meaning of good luck, it would represent: “to break a leg” in English. 


  • Gabagool – This is a US term for the Italian word: Capocollo. It is a cold cut of cured pork. 
  • Madone – This popular Italian American term in the Sopranos is a unique way of saying: Madonna (The Mother of Mary). 
  • Goomar – The Sopranos mention Goomar in the series. This refers to a ‘mistress’ in the show, but it actually means: ‘a godmother’ or ‘an old friend.’ 
  • Moozadell – This is a slang Italian word for mozzarella. 
  • Marone – To swear by saying: ‘damn it!’ 

By learning Italian slang words, you can easily get along with the local Italians and expand your understanding of the language. Have fun practicing your newly learned Italian slang!

Now that you know about the most common Italian slang words, discover the best Italian proverbs with English translation!

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