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Italian word of the day: ‘Ficcanaso’

You'll want to have a good ferret around this word to see what it's all about...

Italian word of the day ficcanaso
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Find it hard to mind your own business? Can’t resist a little snooping around when the opportunity presents itself?

Then today’s word is for you. A ficcanaso (fee-ka-NAH-zoh) is someone who loves sticking their nose in other people’s affairs – in other words, a nosy parker.

Nosy Kardashians GIF - Nosy Kardashians Kim GIFs

Ficcare means to stick, shove, or poke, and naso is simply nose, so (as with nosy parker) from there to ficcanaso is just a short hop.

Tu sai benissimo che lei è solo una ficcanaso.
You know very well that she’s just a busybody.

When used as a noun, being a ficcanaso is often something you ‘do’ or ‘play at’, so you’ll see it phrased as fare il/la ficcanaso (we’ve seen this formulation before in the famous Neapolitan dialect song Tu vuo’ fa’ l’americano – ‘you want to act the American’).

Luisa fa davvero la ficcanaso oggi.
Luisa’s being a real nosy parker today.

Ficcanaso can equally be used as the adjective ‘nosy’ – note that the ending doesn’t change to agree with the subject it’s describing.

È sempre stato un po’ ficcanaso.
He’s always been a bit nosy.

Non mi piacciono i vicini ficcanaso.
I don’t like nosy neighbours.

Listen Up Listenin GIF - Listen Up Listenin Snooping GIFs

Another variation is ficcare il becco, or more commonly, mettere il becco – to ‘stick your beak’ into something that doesn’t concern you.

And if you’re one for a bit of eavesdropping, you’ll want to know the word origliare – to eavesdrop or listen in.

Mamma, non origliare le mie conversazioni per favore.
Mum, please don’t listen in on my conversations.

Mi sa che i bambini stanno origliando fuori dalla porta.
I think the kids are eavesdropping just outside the door.

What to learn more? Have a snoop around our Word of the Day archive and see what other Italian vocabular you can stick your nose into.

Is there an Italian word of expression you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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Italian word of the day: ‘Noioso’

We assure you there's nothing boring about this word...

Italian word of the day: 'Noioso'

A slow internet connection, getting stuck in traffic, a lengthy cabinet address: they’re all tedious, dull, tiresome, mundane: in a word, boring, or in Italian, noioso (nwoy-OH-zoh).

È noioso fare lo stesso lavoro ogni giorno.
It’s boring doing the same job every day.

Molte persone pensano che il golf sia uno sport noioso.
Lots of people think golf is a boring sport.

Rambo Sylvester Stallone Che Noioso Che Noia Annoiato GIF - First Blood Sylvester Stallone How Boring GIFs

Like most Italian adjectives, the o ending changes reliably to a/i/e depending on whether the noun being described is masculine or feminine, singular or plural:

Non vuole fare una vita noiosa.
She doesn’t want to live a boring life.

Sempre gli stessi discorsi noiosi.
Always the same boring old speeches.

If something’s really boring, there’s a neat way of getting that across: you can add the intensifier issimo/a/i/e on the end to make noiosissimo (nwoy-oh-ZISS-eem-oh) and its equivalents.

Il ragazzo con cui sono uscita ieri sera era molto noiosissimo.
The guy I want out with last night was super boring.

Racconta sempre le stesse storie lunghe e noiosissime.
She always tells the same long and very boring stories.

In a spoken context, you might also sometimes hear people exclaim ‘Che noia!’ (kay-NWOY-ah!) – how boring!

Noia Annoiato GIF - Noia Annoiato Annoiata GIFs

What about the state of being bored?

Italian actually has two ways of expressing this. You can just ‘be’ bored, just as we are in English:

Sono annoiata senza di te.
I’m bored without you.

Vieni con noi se sei annoiato.
Come with us if you’re bored.

… or you can ‘bore yourself’ (which doesn’t actually mean that you’re the architect of your own boredom, as it would in English – it’s just another way of saying you’re bored).

Dice che a scuola si annoia da morire.
She says she’s bored out of her mind at school.

Se ti annoi, vai al cinema a vedere il nuovo film di Ridley Scott
If you’re bored, go to the cinema to watch the new Ridley Scott film.

Bored Noia GIF - Bored Noia Noioso GIFs

Note that because being bored is a state of being rather than an action, we use the imperfect rather than the perfect tense to describe having been bored in the past:

Quando ci annoiavamo a scuola, facevamo scherzi all’insegnante.
When we were bored at school, we used to play pranks on the teacher.

Se eravate così annoiati perché non mi avete detto niente?
If you were so bored why didn’t you say anything to me?

You’ve made it to the end: we hope that means non vi abbiamo annoiato (we haven’t bored you)!

Is there an Italian word of expression you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.