Italian-American Slang

Paying homage to the people, we have come to be known as the upbeat and spicy Italian-Americans, natives of the United States of America, but from Italian descent. Saluti!

The dawn of their arrival saw the Italian language being modernized. It has been shaped and molded into a vocabulary that was more suitable for taking occupation in their new country of residence. This brought about the birth of Broccolinese, better known as the language spoken by the Italian- American folk.

Italian-American Slang phrases - The Proud Italian

Speak slang to me, Paesano

The colorful combination of Italian slang and American slang produces a rich cocktail confabulation. Some phrases and words deemed as essentials have been in circulation on the tongues of many,  for several years. Question is, do you have the moxie to converse in some of these phrases? 

Tax evasion conviction or not, who does not like a bit of Al Capone ‘twak?

You would be surprised to know how many New York slang terms are still in use today;

This bar is lit (slang). Using the word “lit” specifically points to something that is described as being “cool”. Italians that prefer to rather iterate this in their language will say “Questa barra è fantastica”!

Why do you have beef with him? No, you are not sharing a juicy piece of New York strip here! The word beef in this particular instance refers to having a grudge against someone. If you want to sound more Italian, it’s best you rather say “Perchè hai rancore nei suoi confronti?”

Most common Italian phrases and slang words | The Proud Italian

Talk Italian, Robert de Niro’s waiting

You might be asking what are some Italian slang words?

Profanity has firmly solidified its place amongst some “necessary” and sassy Italian sayings these, include:

Vaffanculo! Probably one of the most explosive words in Italian phonetics. The description alone should have given it away. Vaffanculo meaning none other than Eff you!  The Italian edition appears to prolong the effects thereof by saying Va’ a farti fottere!

Stronzo.  This word is also not too difficult to figure out. Stronzo meaning asshole is another crude word with which to express yourself. Naturally, the true Italian word is kind enough to break it down into stronzo (masculine) and stronza (feminine). The latter seems to have a little bit of more genteel politeness attached to it.

Stugots. Not only a boat owned by TV Drama Mafia Boss, Tony Soprano. However, Stugots’ meaning appears to be that of Mafia lingo and points to the male genitalia. Alternatively, if you are finding yourself feeling very strongly against a masculine person, this term can be applied to describe a jerk as well. The Italian vocabulary makes use of the word cazzo to describe the same.

Italian-American slang words written in a book - The Proud Itailan

Fancy Phrases

Some other Italian-American phrases that might be appealing include;

Vachiuma clina. Have you managed to figure this one out as yet? It’s none other than your trusty household partner, a.k.a the vacuum cleaner. There is a beautiful, airy word in Italian for this appliance called aspirapolvere.

Vaschinga machina. This is the Italian-American slang phrase for another stalwart in most households around the world. It’s the washing machine or known in “real Italian” as lavatrice.

Wazza mara you? Saying this a few times in your best Italian-American accent will put you on the right path in discovering that this means “What’s the matter with you?” The Italian blend prefers to use the phrase –  “Qual è il problema”?

Girl being sorry, popular Italian-American slang phrases - The Proud Italian

Scuzi, mia dispiachay. When overstepping a boundary, and it’s time to take a slice of humble pie – this phrase means “I am sorry, I did not mean that ”. In full-blood Italian, you will take slightly longer to atone,  and repent for your sins by uttering “Mi dispiace, non intendevo questo”.

Mi fa cagare! It means a beautiful phrase to express your complete and utter disdain at something really awful. The Italian version hails as “È stato terribile”.

Basta! Enough, enough I said! Imagine an angry Italian who squints their eyes to look like James Franco, uttering “Questo è sufficiente”! Another interesting fact about this phrase, in particular – it has been adopted in the Afrikaans vocabulary (one of the 11 official languages of South Africa). It’s pronounced the same but it serves its purpose of calling bullshit on something or someone.

Niente. Niente means nothing in plain English terms. Some Italians prefer to use nulla.

Keh sa deech? A very useful phrase when you are traveling and want to speak to an Italian-American. It means “How are you?” in English. The Italians use a shorter, more informal version – “Come stai?”

Mozzarella, prosciutto and sandwich - The Proud Italian

Don’t irk my food

Some irksome Italian-American (in the opinion of other Italians) phrases are also in existence;

Mozzarell’. A derivative of the proper word of a Southern Italian cheese is, in fact, mozzarella, as spoken by the strict Italians.

Proshoot. This word is sometimes butchered (pun intended). The correct word to use for this delicious dry-cured ham is Prosciutto.

Sameech. Easy to figure out, right? This is none other than that lunchtime treat, more commonly known as a sandwich.

American and Italian flag in NY - The Proud Italian

The final say

The departing phrase to learn can only be capeesh. Capeesh meaning “Do you understand” is best described, using the vision of the Italian-American Madre, who has already taken off her slipper to give you some of the “treatment” for misbehaving, add a few octaves and choice words, and you get the picture. Grazie e grazie per la lettura! Capeesh?