As many of you will already know, in Italy we have got plenty of colloquialisms and colorful expressions! Some of them are impossible to find in any Italian grammar book since they are a bit… “colorful”, but they are indispensable in everyday life and you will hear them all over the street! Every Italian region has its own, but here is a list of 10 expressions to get you started! Let's have a look at them:


Che palle!


Literally translated as what balls, this word means that something is really making you bored. It's English equivalent is what a drag! or how boring!


Put it at the end of a sentence to add emphasis to the annoying activity. Less colorful ways to say this (and of course, less rude) are Che noia!, Che barba! (What a beard!) or Uffa.


Correct: Devo studiare. Che palle!

Correct:  Domani ho una riunione di condominio. Che palle!


Che me ne frega!


It is a way to express your indifference and lack of empathy toward somebody or something! It's a rude way to say, I do not care! that in Italian could be also Non me ne importa niente! (not to be confused with Non importa! which means Nevermind!)


Correct: Lo sai che Marco si è fidanzato con Giulia? Che me ne frega!

Correct: Non me ne importa niente di ciò che pensi di me!


Che cazzata!


A cazzata is something stupid or nonsense. It is a bit rude to say, but it is very common in Italy.        


Correct: Questo film è una cazzata


You can say Che cazzata when somebody tries to tell you a blatant lie:


Correct: Che cazzata, i pinguini non possono volare!


You can also say it when you have done something unwise:


Correct: Ho fatto una cazzata!


Che figata!


A figata is something really cool or great, so it is the opposite of a cazzata! It is commonly used among Italian teenagers to add emphasis to something that is attractive, desirable and worthy of approval.



Person A: Farò un viaggio di un anno in giro per il mondo!

Person B: Che figata!



Person A: Ho una moto nuova!     

Person B: Che figata!


Che casino!


Originally, the word for brothel, now casino is used to describe any situation that is confusing, out of control or crowded, meaning what a mess! or what a disaster. When I was a child, my parents did not want me to use the word casino because of the association with the word casino (that originally meant brothel) and for them it was a parolaccia (swear word). Things have changed now and nowadays casino is no longer seen as being rude and everyone commonly uses it.  You will hear Che casino a lot since the Italians complain that in Italy things are not well organized, but they are a casino.





This is a typical Italian exclamation that means I do not know. It is used to express uncertainty.



Person A: Dove sono le mie scarpe?

Person B: Boh! (I do not know!)



Person A: Che fai stasera?   

Person B: Boh! (I do not know!)




It is an expression of strong desire and it is often used as an answer. It means let's hope, I wish. For example, when somebody asks you if you would like to win the lottery, you can answer Magari! When somebody asks you if you would like to go to Italy, you can answer Magari!


Correct: Ti piacerebbe andare al concerto di stasera? Magari!


But, Magari  also means maybe, probably:


Correct: Magari lui non sa ancora nulla!


Meno male


The literary translation is less bad, but it is used with the meaning of thank God!,  thank goodness! or fortunately and it expresses satisfaction or relief for something that has been resolved well.


Correct: Sono tutti salvi? Meno male!

Correct: Meno male che sei arrivata, la festa è davvero noiosa!


Che culo!


Maybe some of you know that culo in Italian is a vulgar way to say backside, but che culo it is also an expression to say how lucky! or what luck. If a friend tells you that he won a trip to the Caribbean, you can say Che culo! or Che culo che hai! (Lucky devil!).



Person A: Ho vinto un viaggio ai Caraibi!

Person B: Che culo che hai!


Che schifo!


Che schifo means how disgusting. Be careful, if you are in Italy and you want to eat a pizza, do not ask for ketchup on it or for a pineapple pizza (luckily, this kind of pizza doesn't exist in Italy), otherwise all your Italian friends will say Che schifo!


Slang will always come up in the language learning process. Learning some Italian slang words and idioms will help you to better understand the language and the culture of this country. Moreover, speaking some slang can be of great help to fit into the new environment and it makes things sound more natural, because it's how natives speak!


Now that you have had a look at some slang expressions, try to fire off a few spicy phrases of your own!


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