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English words of Italian origin



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Many words of Italian origin have entered other languages. A large part of musical terminology is Italian, as are popular foods from Italian cuisine.

Contents

Art and Architecture

Amoretto, Cupid 
from amoretto, diminutive of amore, from Latin amor = "love"
Arcade 
from arcate = "arches"
Architrave 
from architrave
Artisan 
from artigiano
Bagnio 
from bagno
Balcony 
from balcone
Baldachin 
from baldacchino
Baluster 
from balaustra
Balustrade 
from balaustrata
Belvedere, a kind of gazebo 
from belvedere = "nice view"
Berlinetta 
from berlinetta
Biennale 
from biennale
Bronze 
from bronzo
Cameo 
from cammeo
Campanile 
from cile
Caricature 
from caricatura
Carpet 
frpoijiuygbom carpita
Carrozzeria 
from carrozzeria
Cartoon 
from cartone, ="cardboard", augmentative of carta, ="paper"
Chiaroscuro 
from chiaro, ="clear, light coloured" and scuro, "dark"
Cognoscente 
from conoscente
Colonnade 
from colonnato, from colonna column
Conversazione 
from conversazione
Corridor 
from corridoio
Cupola 
from cupola, ="little cask"
Curioso 
from curiosa
Dilettante 
from dilettante
Dome 
from duomo
Facade 
from French façade, from Italian facciata, from faccia face, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin facia
Faience 
from the city of Faenza
Fascia 
from fascia, ="band or strip"
Fiasco 
from Fiasco
Figurine 
from figurina
Fresco 
from fresco, ="fresh, cool". The Italian word for a painting on wet plaster is affresco
Fumetti 
from fumetti
Gallery 
from galleria, ="arcade"
Gesso 
from gesso, ="chalk"
Graffiti 
from graffiti, plural of graffito
Grotesque 
from grottesca
Impasto 
from impasto, ="dough, paste"
Indigo 
from indaco
Intaglio 
from intaglio, ="cutting, engraving"
Intarsia 
from intarsio, ="inlaying, marquetry"
Loggia 
from loggia
Madonna 
from madonna, ="my lady"
Madonnari 
from madonnari, plural of madonnaro
Magenta 
from the town of Magenta, Italy
Majolica 
from maiolica
Mandorla 
from mandorla
Martello 
from martello
Mascara 
from maschera
masquerade 
from maschera
Mask 
from maschera
Medal 
from medaglia
Mezzanine 
from mezzanino
Mezzotint 
from mezzo, ="half", and tinto, ="dyed, stained"
Millefiori 
from millefiori
Miniature 
from miniatura
Model 
from modello
Monticello 
from monticello, ="little mountain"
Morbidezza 
from morbidezza
Mosaic 
from mosaico
Muslin 
from mussolina
Niello 
from niello
Ovolo 
from ovulo, diminutive of "uovo", "ovo" egg, from Latin "ovum"
Palazzo 
from palazzo
Parapet 
from parapetto
Pastel 
from pastello
Pasticcio 
from pasticcio, ="pastiche"
Pentimento 
from pentimento
Pergola 
from pergola
Piazza 
from piazza, ="square, marketplace"
Pietà 
from pietà, ="pity"
Pilaster 
from pilastro
Porcelain 
from porcellana
Portico 
from portico
Predella 
from predella
Putto 
from putto
Quattrocento 
from Quattrocento, ="1400s".
Relievo 
from rilievo, see also alto-relievo, basso-relievo
Replica 
from replica
Rotunda 
from rotonda
Saloon 
from salone
Scagliola 
from scagliola, =literally, "little chip"
Sepia 
from seppia, ="cuttlefish"
Seraglio 
from serraglio
Sfumato 
from sfumato, ="shaded, toned down"
Sgraffito 
from sgraffito
Sienna 
from the town of Siena, Italy
Sketch 
from schizzo =literally, "splash"
Soffit 
from soffitto, ="ceiling"
Studio 
from studio, ="study"
Stucco 
from stucco
Tazza 
from tazza
Tempera 
from tempera
Terra-cotta 
from terra cotta, =literally, "baked or cooked earth"
Terrazzo 
from terrazzo, ="terrace"
Umber 
from Umbria, a region in Italy
Veduta 
from veduta
Vedutista 
from vedutista
Villa 
from villa
Virtue 
from virtù
Virtuoso 
from virtuoso

Food and culinary terms

affogato 
from affogato
al dente 
from al (a preposition + il article) and dente, ="tooth" (al dente could be translated as "slightly underdone"; it's used particularly to specify the clicking consistency of properly done pasta)
al fresco 
from al and fresco, ="fresh, cool", hence ="in a cool place". In Italian al fresco is a slang term for being in jail.
amaretto 
from amaretto, diminutive of amaro bitter, from Latin amarus
antipasto 
from antipasto
artichoke 
from North Italian articiocco, from Arabic al-ẖaršúf.
arugula 
from the Neapolian dialect rugula
barista 
from barista
biscotti 
from plural of biscotto ="cooked twice, cookie"
bologna or baloney (boloney) 
from Bologna
broccoli 
from plural of broccolo, ="cabbage-sprout or top"
calamari 
from calamari
candy 
from Middle English sugre candy, part translation of Middle French sucre candi, part translation of Old Italian zucchero candi, from zucchero sugar + Arabic qandI candied, from qand cane sugar
cappuccino 
from cappuccino
carpaccio 
from carpaccio
cauliflower 
from cavolfiore
caviar 
from caviale
Chicken Marengo 
from the village of Marengo
ciabatta 
from ciabatta
coffee 
from caffè
confetti 
from confetti, plural of confetto
cotechino 
from cotechino
espresso 
from espresso
fettuccine 
from fettuccine, plural of fettuccina
focaccia 
from focaccia
gelato 
from gelato
grappa 
from grappa
gusto 
from gusto
lasagna 
from lasagne
latte 
from latte, ="milk". Coffee with lots of milk is called caffellatte in Italy
linguine 
from linguine, plural of linguina, ="diminutive of lingua tongue"
macaroni 
from maccheroni, plural of maccherone
macchiato 
from macchiato, ="marked"
maraschino 
from maraschino
marinara 
from (alla) marinara ="literally, in sailor style"
panettone 
from panettone
panini 
from panini, plural of panino, ="bread roll"
parmesan 
from dialect word parmesan ="from Parma", parmigiano in standard Italian
pasta 
from pasta ="dough"
pepperoni 
from peperoni, plural of peperone, augmentative of pepe pepper, from Latin piper
pesto 
from pesto, ="crushed"
pignoli 
from pinoli, plural of pinolo
pistachio 
from pistacchio
pizza 
from pizza
pizzeria 
from pizzeria
polenta 
from polenta
prosciutto 
from prosciutto
provolone 
from augmentative of provola
radicchio 
from radicchio, ="chicory"
ravioli 
from ravioli, plural of raviolo
salami 
from salami, plural of salame
scampi 
from scampi, plural of scampo
semolina 
from semolino
soda 
from soda
spaghetti 
from spaghetti, plural of spaghetto, ="little string"
spumante 
from spumante
spumoni 
from spumone
sugar 
from zucchero; ultimately from Arabic
tiramisu 
from tiramisù
tortellini 
from tortellini, plural of tortellino ="little cake"
tortoni 
from Tortoni 19th century Italian restaurateur in Paris
trattoria 
from trattoria
tutti-frutti 
from tutti frutti, ="all fruits"
vermicelli 
from vermicelli, plural of vermicello ="little worm"
zabaglione 
from zabaglione, zabaione (actual Italian form)
zucchini 
from zucchini, plural of zucchina, ="small gourd"

Language and literature

Beatrice 
from Beatrice
canto, subdivision of a long poem 
from canto ="song, singing"
lingua franca 
from lingua franca
motto 
from motto
novel 
from novella, ="short story, tale".
pun 
from puntiglio (originally meaning "a fine point"), diminutive of punto, "point", from the Latin punctus, past participle of pungere, "to prick."
scenario 
from scenario
sonnet 
from sonetto
stanza 
from stanza, ="room"
trill 
from trillo

Music

alto 
from alto
arpeggio 
from arpeggio, ="harp-like"
attacca 
from attacca
basso 
from basso
bassoon 
from bassone
bel canto 
from bel canto
bravura 
from bravura
cadenza 
from cadenza
cantata 
from cantata
canzone 
from canzone
capo 
short for capotasto, from Italian, literally, head of fingerboard
capriccio 
from capriccio ="sudden start, motion, or freak"
castrato 
from castrato
cavatina 
from cavatina
cello 
from violoncello
concert 
from concerto
diva 
from diva
divertimento 
from divertimento
folio 
from foglio, ="leaf"
fantasia 
from fantasia, ="fancy"
forte, a musical direction for 'loud' 
from forte ="strong, loud"
fugue 
from fuga
harmonica 
from armonica
intermedio 
from intermedio
intermezzo 
from intermezzo
libretto 
from libretto
madrigal 
from madrigale
maestro 
from maestro
mandola 
from mandola
mandolin 
from mandolino
obbligato 
from obbligare, ="to oblige"
oboe 
from oboè, òboe (actual Italian form)
ocarina 
from ocarina
opera 
from opera, ="a work produced"
operetta 
from operetta, ="little opera"
oratorio 
from oratorio
orchestra 
from orchestra
piano 
from piano, ="soft"
pianoforte 
from pianoforte, ="soft-strong"
piccolo 
from piccolo, ="small"
presto 
from presto
rondo 
from rondo, ="rondeau"
scena 
from scena, ="scene"
segue 
from segue, ="it follows"
serenade 
from serenata
sinfonia 
from sinfonia, ="symphony"
solfege 
from solfeggio
solo 
from solo
sonata 
from sonata
soprano 
from soprano
sordino 
from sordino
tempo 
from tempo, ="time"
tessitura 
from tessitura, ="texture"
timpani 
from timpani, plural of timpano, ="kettledrum"
trill 
from trillo
trombone 
from trombone, ="large trumpet"
tuba 
from tuba
viola 
from viola
violin 
from violino

Politics

ballot 
from ballottaggio
bandit 
from bandito
Camerlengo 
from Camerlengo
camorra 
from Camorra
doge 
from doge
duce 
from (Il) Duce, which derives from the Latin dux, ducis, meaning commander, leader
fascio 
from fascio
fascism 
from fascismo
generalissimo 
from generalissimo
illuminati 
Italian, from New Latin, from Latin, plural of illuminatus
imbroglio 
from imbroglio, "an entangling, an enwrapping, a garboile";the Italian word imbroglio is itself a borrowed word from Vèneto (Venetian) brolio meant a garden, politicians in Venice used to meet in a garden to cement alliances, so to go 'in brolio' meant to cheat or deceive
incognito 
from incognito (from Latin in + cognitus), ="unknown"
irredentism 
from irredentismo
machiavellian 
from Niccolò Machiavelli
manifesto 
from manifesto, ="manifest"
partisan 
from partigiano
Podestà 
from Podestà
politico 
from politico
propaganda 
from propaganda, (from Latin 'propagare'= literally "extending forth")
razzia 
from razzia
risorgimento 
from risorgimento

Science and medicine

algebra 
from algebra
breccia 
from breccia
caliber 
from calibro
gabbro 
from gabbro
granite 
from granito ,derivative of grano, ="grain"
gonzo 
from gonzo, ="fool(ish)"
influenza 
from influenza
lagoon 
from laguna,
lava 
from lava
lazaretto 
from lazzaretto, alteration of Nazaretto, quarantine station in Venice, from Santa Maria di Nazareth, church on the island where it was located
malaria 
from malaria, contraction of mala, ="bad" and aria, "air"
medico 
from medico
neutrino 
from neutrino, ="little neutron"
pellagra 
from pellagra, contraction of pelle, ="skin" and agra, "acid, sour"
peperino 
from peperino
pozzolana 
from pozzolana
race 
from razza
rocket 
from rocchetto
scalpel 
from scalpello, ="chisel"
torso 
from torso, ="stalk, stump"
travertine 
from travertino
tufa 
from tufa
tuff 
from tufo
volcano 
from vulcano (from Latin vulcanus)

Other words

agio 
from agio
alarm 
from all'arme (allarme in modern standard Italian), =literally, "to the arms"
alert 
from all'erta (allerta in modern standard Italian), =literally, "on the ascent"
archipelago 
from arcipelago
arsenal 
from arsenale, Venetian origin: "Arsenal"
assassin 
from assassino
attack 
from attaccare
attitude 
from attitudine
autostrada 
from autostrada
ballerina 
from ballerina
ballet 
from balletto
balloon 
from pallone
bambino 
from bambino, ="child", "baby"
bank 
from banco or banca, ="bench"
bankrupt 
from banco or banca, ="bench" and rotto, ="broken"
Barbarossa 
nickname given to the German emperor Friedrich I, from barba, ="beard" and rossa (feminine form of rosso), ="red"
bella figura 
from bella figura
ben trovato 
from ben trovato
bersagliere 
from bersagliere
bimbo 
from bimbo, ="child", "baby"
biretta 
from biretta
bizarre 
from bizzarro
bocce 
from bocce, plural form of boccia ="ball"
bomb 
from bomba
bordello 
from bordello, ="brothel"
brave 
from bravo courageous, wild, probably from Latin barbarus barbarous
bravo 
from bravo, ="skillful, good (at something), brave (not very common in current Italian)"
brigade 
from brigata
brilliant 
from French brillant, present participle of briller to shine, from Italian brillare
buffalo 
from bufalo
buffoon 
from buffone
bulletin 
from bolletino
camauro 
from camauro
Campo Santo 
from campo santo
cannon 
from cannone
capuchin 
from cappuccino
carabiniere 
from carabiniere
carat 
from carato
caravan (disambiguation) 
from caravana or carovana
caress 
from carezza
carnival 
from carnevale
carousel 
from carosello
cartridge 
from cartoccio
cascade 
from cascata
cash 
from modification of Middle French or Old Italian; Middle French casse money box, from Old Italian cassa, from Latin capsa chest
casino 
from casino, ="small house", diminutive of casa In current Italian, it means a lot of noise, a mess, or a brothel.
catenaccio 
from catenaccio
Cavalier 
from cavaliere, ="chevalier"
ciao 
from ciao
cicala 
from cicala, ="cicada"
cicerone 
from cicerone
colonel 
from colonnello
condottiere 
from condottiero
consigliere 
from consigliere
corna 
from corna
courtesan 
from cortigiana
cozen 
from cozzone
credit 
from credito, ="credit, belief, or balance"
debit 
from debito, ="debt"
disaster 
from disastro
ditto 
from ditto, now detto, said
donna 
from donna
extravaganza 
from stravaganza
festa 
from festa, ="feast"
fiasco 
from fare fiasco, ="to make a bottle"
fico 
from fico, ="fig"
finale 
from finale, ="final"
florin 
from fiorino
fugazi 
from fugazi =Italian-American slang term for something that is "forged/not authentic"
gambado 
from gambale, from gamba leg
gazette 
from gazzetta
ghetto 
from ghetto
ghibli 
from ghibli
giraffe 
from giraffa
girandole 
from girandola
giro 
from giro
gondola 
from gondola
gran turismo 
from gran turismo, ="grand touring"
group 
from gruppo
Harlequin 
from Arlecchino
impresa 
from impresa
impresario 
from impresario
innamorato 
from innamorato
inferno 
from inferno, ="hell"
in petto 
from in petto, literally, "in the breast"
jeans 
from blu di Genova
literati 
from obsolete Italian litterati, from Latin, plural of litteratus
lottery 
from lotteria
lotto 
from lotto
magazine 
from magazzino
mafia 
from mafia
mafioso 
from mafioso
magnifico 
from magnifico
Mamma Mia 
from mamma mia
manage 
from maneggiare
marina 
from marina
monster
from mostro
morra 
from morra
mozzetta
from mozzetta
musket 
from moschetto
mustachio 
from mustacchio, ="mustache"
ogre 
from orco, ="demon, monster"
omertà 
from omertà
pants 
from pantalone
paparazzo 
from Paparazzo, the surname of a character in a movie by Fellini
parasol 
from parasole
pedal 
from pedale
pilot 
from pilota
pistol 
from the city of Pistoia, Tuscany
piston 
from pistone
pococurante 
from poco curante, ="caring little"
policy 
from polizza
poltroon
from poltrone, ="lazy person, idler", from poltrona, armchair
pontoon 
from pontone, augmentative of ponte, ="bridge"
portfolio 
from portafoglio
previdential 
from previdenza
punchinello 
from Neapolitan language pucinella
regatta 
from regata
risk 
from rischio
riviera 
from riviera
saltarello 
from saltarello
sansevieria 
from Raimondo di Sangro, prince of San Severo died 1774 Italian scholar
scaramouche 
from scaramuccia, ="skirmish"
sedan 
from sede, a southern Italian dialect derivative of "chair"
sequin 
from zecchino
simpatico 
from simpatico
sirocco 
from scirocco
skirmish 
from scaramuccia
squad 
from squadra
squadron 
from squadrone
stiletto 
from stiletto, ="little dagger"
strappado 
from strappata
taffeta 
from taffettà
tariff 
from tariffa
tarot 
from tarocchi
tifoso 
from tifoso, plural tifosi
tinge 
from tingere, ="to dye or to colour"
tombola 
from tombolare, ="to tumble, fall upside down"
tombolo 
from tombolo
traffic 
from Middle French trafique, from Old Italian traffico, from trafficare to traffic
trampoline 
from trampolino
turban 
from turbante
umbrella 
from ombrello, diminutive of ombra, ="shade"
valuta 
from valuta, ="value"
vendetta 
from vendetta, ="vengeance"
vista 
from vista
viva 
from viva
zany 
from Zanni a dialectal form of Giovanni, a Commedia dell'arte character
zero 
from zero
zucchetto 
from zucchetto





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Published - January 2009


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