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Italian word of the day: 'Giornataccia'

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Italian word of the day: 'Giornataccia'
12:58 CET+01:00
Had a bad day? If you want to talk about it, this word is here for you.

Do you ever have those days where nothing seems to go right?

Those days when you wish you'd just stayed in bed? (And I'm not just talking about Mondays.)

The kind of day where you forget your keys, spill coffee down your shirt, and miss the train - all before it's even nine o'clock - and things just go downhill from there.


That's what today's lesson is all about.

What do Italians say when they've had the day from hell? Well, quite a lot, as you can probably guess.

“Bad day” translates as brutta giornata. So you could say:

Ho avuto una brutta giornata

I've had a bad day

And that does the job. But I think the word giornataccia is much more expressive.

È stata una giornataccia a lavoro

It was a bad day at work

So what's the ‘taccia' part of this word all about? (Nope, it doesn't mean ‘bad'.)

This is the suffisso peggiorativo, or ‘derogatory suffix', a curious device that indicates the worsening of something.

The most common suffixes are -accio and –astro

When added to a noun, adjective or adverb they mean that something has got worse, gone wrong, or is otherwise just no good at all.

Which is why giornataccia is so perfect for complaining about your day.

Che giornataccia, da non credere!

You wouldn't believe the day I've had!

Che giornataccia è stata

What a day this has been

Dio, che giornataccia!

God, what a day!


In fact the Italian language has quite a few creative ‘bad day' expressions.

Sto vivendo un incubo! 

I'm having an awful day

(This typically understated Italian phrase literally translates as “I'm living a nightmare!”)

Non vedo l'ora che finisca questa giornata storta!

I can't wait until this bad day ends!

And when nothing else will cut it:

Questa è veramente una giornata di merda! 

This is a really shitty day!

So when absolutely everything else seems to be going wrong in life, at least your Italian language skills will be on point.


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