Useful Italian expressions you need to know

There are some useful Italian expressions you need to know if you are learning Italian and want to be more fluent when you speak. Today we are going to show you some of these expressions with their meanings so that you can become more familiar with the Italian language and culture.


If you have already read our tips for learning Italian, you certainly know that it’s very important to study a little bit of Italian every day in order to improve your Italian level easily and quickly. So, let’s start practicing with these useful Italian expressions you need to know.

  • Boh!: Colloquial expression that you can use when someone asks you something and you don’t know the answer. Instead of saying “non lo so” (I don’t know), you could say “boh”.

For example:  A: Quanti anni ha Giovanni?  (How old is Giovanni?) — B: Boh (I don’t know).

  • Pronto: This is the standard response when answering the phone in Italy, and it literally means “ready”.

For example:  A: Pronto? Chi parla? (Hello? Who is speaking?) – B: Ciao, sono Marco. Come stai? (Hello, this is Marco. How are you?).

  • Mannaggia!: Damn!
  • Cavolo!: It literally means “cabbage” and it can be used as “mannaggia” to express anger.

For example: Mannaggia/Cavolo, ho perso le chiavi di casa! (Damn, I have lost my house keys!)

  • In bocca al lupo: Literally it means “into the mouth of the wolf” and it is used to wish somebody good luck.
  • Crepi/Crepi il lupo: This is the standard response to “In bocca al lupo”. Instead of saying “grazie” (thank you) when people wish them good luck, Italians say “may (the wolf) die”.

For example: A: Domani ho un esame (Tomorrow I have an exam) – B: In bocca al lupo! (Good luck!) – A: Crepi (Thank you).

  • Che schifo!: How disgusting!

For example: Questa casa è piena di scarafaggi. Che schifo! (This house is full of cockroaches. How disgusting!)

  • Che figuraccia!: You can use this expression when you make a bad impression because you do something that is considered a social gaffe or embarrassing social situation.

For example: A: Ieri sono caduto proprio davanti alla ragazza che mi piace (Yesterday, I fell down just in front of the girl I like) – B: Che figuraccia! (How embarrassing!)

These are just some of the useful Italian expressions you need to know. Remember that if you want to master a foreign language, you need to put your shyness aside.  So start using these new words when you speak Italian with your friends, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes because mistakes are part of the learning process.

If you liked the article and want to discover more about the Italian language, why don’t you try a lesson with a native Italian tutor from Parlando Italiano? If you want to get to know more about our teachers, you can visit our YouTube Channel “My Italian lessons Parlando Italiano”.