Here is a list of the most common Italian vocabulary words. This list can be filtered by word type (nouns, verbs, etc.. ) by clicking on the buttons below.
List of the most common Italian vocabulary words
il[article](the)The Italian definite articles agree in gender and number with the noun they define. This Italian article is used with nouns which are masculine and singular. If the noun starts with a vowel, “il” becomes the letter ‘l’ followed by an apostrophe: «l’».
essere[verb](to be)This common Italian word is often used as an “auxiliary” verb. With this function, it is connected with the main verb, and together they create different verb tenses.
e[conjunction](and)It is grammatically correct to add the suffix “d” to this Italian conjunction when the word that follows starts with the letter “e”. See here to learn more about Italian conjunctions.
a[preposition](a, at, in, to, by, on)
si[pronoun](itself, herself, himself)
che[pronoun](that, who, which)
solo[adverb](alone)This Italian word can have two meanings: “alone” and “only”. While in the first case, it is usually placed at the end of the sentence, in the second case it is found between the verb and the object.
ancora[adverb](still)This Italian word means “still”. However, when pronounced with more emphasis on the “o” it means “anchor”. See here for more on Italian pronunciation and homographs.
molto[adverb](very much)A synonym of this Italian word is “tanto”. They are used interchangeably, but “tanto” is preferred when referring to numerical quantities.
potere[verb](can, be able to)This Italian word can be both a verb and a noun. As a verb it means “to be able to”, and as a noun it means “power”. Although they have different meanings, their connotations are very similar.
così[adverb](so, like this)
dovere[verb](to have to, must)
nessuno[determiner](nobody)While in English there is a distinction in usage between “somebody”, “nobody” and “anybody”, in Italian there is only one word for the three of them: “nessuno”.
tra[preposition](between)Identical to “fra”, these two Italian prepositions are used interchangeably. Their difference depends completely on the word that follows them. If the following word starts with “tr-” one would use the preposition “fra”, and if the following word starts with “fr-” one would use the preposition “tra”.
volere[verb](to want)This Italian irregular verb belongs to the group of verbs ending in -ere. It is one of the most common Italian verbs, and it is also used in a very common Italian proverb: “volere è potere”, which means “where there is a will, there is a way”.
italiano[adjective](Italian)An interesting difference between Italian and English when it comes to the nationality adjectives is that while in English these are always capitalized, in Italian they are not.
perché[conjunction](why)While English has both the words “why” and “because” depending on the sentence form, in Italian there is only one conjunction for both affirmative and question sentences.
già[adverb](already)Besides meaning “already”, this Italian word can also mean “indeed”, or “yeah”. When used in that way, this word serves to intensify what is being said.
parlare[verb](to speak)This common Italian verb resembles the French verb “parler”. For more similar words between these languages, see this comparison of Italian vs French.
casa[noun](house, home)This common Italian word can mean both “house” and “home”. The only way to refer to a “home” rather than a “house” is by adding a possessive adjective: “casa mia”.
via[noun](street)In addition to being a noun, this Italian word can also work as an adverb. In this case, it means “away” and it is used to form a common goodbye phrase: “vado via”.
caso[noun](coincidence, instance)This Italian word can have very different meanings, such as “coincidence” and “instance”. It is also frequently used in the phrase “in questo caso”, which means “in this case”.
insomma[adverb](in short)This interesting Italian word is found in different circumstances, and it mostly means “in short”, “all in all”, “so”. In spoken Italian, it is used to indicate that something is so-so. For example, it is a common answer to the question “how are you?”
però[adverb](but)A synonym of this Italian word is “ma”. Interestingly, children often use them consecutively in the same sentence, which is grammatically incorrect. See here for a list of common Italian mistakes.
calcio[noun](soccer, kick, calcium)This Italian word means both “soccer” and “calcium”. The context will suggest which one of the two is being used.
riferire[verb](to report, to tell)
io[pronoun](I)Just like all the Italian personal pronouns, this pronoun is oftentimes implied, since the subject can be inferred from the verb form. Interestingly, it is still among the most common Italian words.
ecco[adverb](here, there)This colloquial Italian word does not have an English equivalent. It is often used to emphasize something, in addition to appearing in several common Italian phrases, such as “ecco a te!”(“here you go!”), and “ecco fatto!” (“done!”).
qualche[determiner](some, a few, any)
quanto[pronoun](how much, how many)This Italian word can have different endings (-o, -a, -e, -i) since it must agree in gender and number with the term it refers to. This Italian pronoun is used for both countable and uncountable nouns.
carabiniere[noun](carabiniere)This word refers to the Italian military force. Its origins date back to the Kingdom of Sardinia times. After the Italian unification, it was decided to keep it.
soprattutto[adverb](especially, above all)
famiglia[noun](family)This noun contains one of the most peculiar Italian phonetic features: “gli”. This tricky soft sound is found in many other Italian words, such as “figli”, “coniglio”, or even the masculine plural definite article “gli”.
bisognare[verb](it is necessary to)This impersonal Italian verb is only conjugated for the third person singular. The closest English translation would be: “it is necessary to…” or “we should/have to”. It should not be confused with the personal verb “avere bisogno di”, which means “to need”.
mancare[verb](to be missing)
iniziare[verb](to begin, to start)
alcuno[determiner](not any, no)
domenica[noun](Sunday)The origin of this Italian word derives from the Latin expression “Dies Dominicus”, which means “Lord’s Day”. See here for a comparison of Italian and Latin.
avvenire[verb](to happen, future)This Italian term can be both a verb and a noun. As a verb it means “to happen”, whereas as a noun it means “future”.
bastare[verb](to suffice, to be enough)
Napoli[proper noun](Naples)This word originates from the Greek “Neapolis”, which means “new city”. Its etymology refers to a distinctive trait of the Neapolitan Greek age: Napoli was influenced by the identity of different populations settling there, which made it a “new city”.
sì[interjection](yes)This very common Italian word has a homonym: “si”. The first one, “sì” has an accent and it is an affirmation adverb. The second one, “si” does not have an accent, and is a reflexive pronoun (third person singular).
sentire[verb](to feel)This Italian verb primarily means “to feel”, and it is used to express emotions in Italian. In many contexts, it also means “to hear”. However, just like in English, also in Italian there is a difference between “to hear” and “to listen”, as the second one would be “ascoltare”.
infine[adverb](in the end)
ormai[adverb](at this point)
nascere[verb](to be born)
attendere[verb](to wait for)
novità[noun](news)While in English the word “news” can only be singular, its Italian equivalent “novità” can be plural too. When this word is in a plural form, its spelling is the same. But the grammar elements referring to it will change.
rendere[verb](to give back)
cercare[verb](to look for, to seek)
riuscire[verb](to be able to)
soldi[noun](money)This common Italian word is always used in the plural form.
diritto[noun](the right side)
riportare[verb](report, bring back)This common Italian word has two different meanings: “to report”, and “to bring back”. They are easily distinguishable from the context.
uscire[verb](to go out)
scattare[verb](shoot, take a picture)
registrare[verb](to record, to register)
riguardare[verb](review, take care of yourself)The most common translation of this Italian verb is “to review”, but when it is used in its reflexive form (riguardarsi), it means “to take care of oneself”.
straordinario[adjective](extraordinary, overtime)This Italian word means primarily “extraordinary”. However, in the phrase “Fare lo straordinario”, it means working overtime. See here for more Italian expressions and idioms.
difendere[verb](to defend, to stick up for)
giornale[noun](newspaper)Although similar to the English “journal”, this word means “newspaper”. The Italian word for “journal” is “rivista”.
svolta[noun](turn, turning point)In the context of giving directions, this Italian word simply means “turn”. When used in a different context, it can also denote a “breakthrough”.
match[noun](match)Anglicisms in Italian are quite common. As long as it is used in relation to sport, this word has the same meaning as the English one. The other meanings of this English word correspond to different Italian words.
porre[verb](put, set, pay)This Italian verb has several different meanings. When combined with the word “attenzione”, it means “pay attention”. In other cases, it means “to put” something, or “to set” an objective.
partecipare[verb](to participate in)
abbastanza[adverb](enough)While in English the word “enough” is placed after the adjective of reference, its Italian equivalent is always found before.
bravo[adjective](good at something)
peggio[noun](the worst part)
rientrare[verb](return, go/come back)
fratello[noun](brother)This basic Italian vocabulary word comes from the Latin word “frater”, which appears among the most common Latin words.
segnalare[verb](signal, point out)
concorso[noun](competitive exam, contest)
incontrare[verb](to encounter, to meet)
stasera[adverb](this evening)This common Italian word is just the shorter version of “(que)sta sera”. The same type of contraction appears in “stamattina” (questa mattina), and “stanotte” (questa notte).
smentire[verb](to deny)This Italian verb comes from “mentire”, which means “to lie”. The prefix “s” gives it a different meaning: “to deny”, “to prove wrong”.
ripartire[verb](to leave again, recover)Depending on the context, this Italian verb can have two meanings. One is “to leave again”, and the second is “to recover”. In both cases, the prefix “ri” suggests a repetition or a reaction.
sequestrare[verb](to confiscate, to seize)
neppure[adverb](either, not even)This Italian adverb can be used interchangeably with “nemmeno” and “neanche”, as they are all synonyms. In the same sentence, they should be alternated to avoid repetition of the same word. See here for a list of Italian adverbs.
né[conjunction](neither...nor)This Italian word is repeated twice in a sentence and used to negate something. It corresponds to the English “neither…nor”.
verde[adjective](green)This Italian adjective comes from Latin, and it is the same in Portuguese. For more similar words between these languages, see this comparison of Portuguese vs Italian.
Mario[proper noun](Mario)Being one of the most common Italian proper names, “Mario Rossi” is often found in different subject textbooks to provide examples. It is the equivalent of the English “John Doe”.
By Maria Topo
Maria Topo is fascinated by foreign cultures and diversity, she recently completed
a MA in Modern Languages for International Communication and Cooperation.