Italian word of the day: 'Accidenti'

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

Wow, does this word come in handy.


We predict there'll be many times in Italy when you'll be amazed. And because it's rude to stand there with your mouth agape, here's what you can say in such a situation: accidenti (pronunciation available here).

The word means literally 'accidents', but used as an exclamation it's roughly equivalent to 'wow'.


Accidenti, che bella giornata!
Wow, what a beautiful day!

– Ho superato l'esame di guida al primo tentativo.
– Accidenti! Complimenti.

– I passed my driving test first time.
– Whoa! Well done.

We also predict there'll be times when you're less impressed and more ticked off. The good news is that you can use accidenti then too: the other meaning of this word is 'damn'.

Accidenti, ho sbagliato strada.
Damn it, I took the wrong turn.

Accidenti a lui!
Damn him!

You can even get creative and use accidenti in the middle of a sentence to emphasise whatever point you're making.

Often when you use it this way it's like saying 'a damn (thing)', so remember to make it singular: un accidente.

Non capisco un accidente.
I don't understand a damn thing.

Ma che accidenti vogliono?
What the hell do they want?

Non m'importa un accidente.
I don't give a damn.

Do you have a favourite Italian word or expression you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.


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