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Italian word of the day: ‘Stupidaggine’

You can probably take a good guess as to what this word means...

Italian word of the day stupidaggine
Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Sometimes, when you’re scrambling to think of the Italian word for something and are failing miserably, there’s a temptation to just throw out the English with an extra vowel added on the end and see where it gets you.

Most of the time the answer is: not far. But ‘stupid’ is one of those words which can in fact be Italianised with the simple addition of an ‘o’, ‘a’, ‘i’ or ‘e’ (depending on whether the subject is masculine or feminine, singular or plural):

È la cosa più stupida di cui abbia mai sentito parlare.
It’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.

Pensi che io sono uno stupido?
Do you think I’m an idiot?

Italian, however, goes one better than English in that it creates a whole extra noun out of the word that doesn’t exist at all for anglophones: stupidaggine (STOOP-ih-DADGE-inn-eh), which means something like a piece of rubbish, nonsense, foolishness – in short, a stupid/trivial little thing, not worth wasting your time on.

Questa è una stupidaggine e lo sai benissimo.
This is nonsense and you know that full well.

Sicuramente entro domani si sarà scordata di questa stupidaggine.
By tomorrow she’ll definitely have forgotten this foolishness.

Mario Adinolfi Il Popolo Della Famiglia Stupidaggine GIF - Mario Adinolfi The People Of Family Bullshit GIFs

Unlike any of its English equivalents, stupidaggine is a countable noun, which means it also exists in the plural form, stupidaggini (STOOP-ih-DADGE-inn-ee) – in fact, you’ll probably more commonly hear it used in the plural than the singular form.

Non ne posso più delle sue stupidaggini.
I’ve had enough of his nonsense.

Non ho tempo per affrontare questi stupidaggini.
I don’t have time to deal with this rubbish.

It’s such a pleasing word to say that once you get the hang of it, you’re liable to find yourself using it all the time (not to mention questioning why English doesn’t really have a word for ‘stupid little thing/s’).

But stupidaggine isn’t the only Italian word meaning ‘stupidities’ that has a nice cadence to it.

There’s also sciocchezze (shock-ETZ-eh), the plural of sciocchezza (shock-ETZ-a), which means more or less exactly the same thing as stupidaggini.

Smettila di dire sciocchezze.
Stop saying ridiculous things.

Ho commesso una sciocchezza.
I did something stupid.

Gfvip Grandefratellovip GIF - Gfvip Grandefratellovip Marchesadaragona GIFs

Like stupidaggini, sciocchezze comes from another word: sciocco, which can be used either as an adjective, meaning silly or foolish, or as a noun, meaning fool (stupido can also be used either as an adjective of a noun in Italian).

Then there’s the less common scemenze (shem-ENZ-eh), the plural of scemenza (shem-ENZ-a), which comes from the noun/adjective scemo (SHAY-mo), and again is more or less interchangeable with both stupidaggini and sciocchezze.

Che scemenze ho detto ieri sera?
What nonsense did I spout last night?

Finally, there’s the vulgar cazzate (catz-AH-teh), the plural for cazzata ((catz-AH-a) – it’s very commonly used in colloquial Italian but you’ll want to watch who you say it around because it’s closer to ‘bullshit’ than ‘foolishness’.

Scusa, sono allergica alle cazzate.
Sorry, I’m allergic to bullshit.

Un Sacco Di Cazzate Dice GIF - Un Sacco Di Cazzate Dice Diceunsaccodicazzate Comesempre GIFs

Next time you go on a fool’s errand to the comune with the aim of completing some bureaucratic task only to be sent home because you’re missing a photocopy of a previously unmentioned document, at least you’ll have the vocabulary complain about it.

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.