Italian word of the day: ‘Evvai’

Italian word of the day: 'Evvai'
Photo: DepositPhotos
Hooray for this Italian word of encouragement.

It's easy to get discouraged when you're learning a language. After the first steep learning curve, when conjugating the present tense correctly feels like a triumph, it's almost inevitable you'll slow depressingly down when it comes to picking up the harder stuff.

To anyone stuck on that miserable plateau, we say: evvai

It's an Italian term of encouragement, translating roughly as 'come on!' Some say it's an updated variation of evviva ('hurrah'), the somewhat old-fashioned term you'd use to wish health and happiness to, say, a reigning monarch.

Evviva la regina!
Long live the queen!

Alternatively you can translate evvai as a contraction of e vai: 'and go'. In fact it's both coming and going: the expression is used to encourage, like 'come on', but also to congratulate – like 'way to go!'

Hai avuto il lavoro? Evvai!
You got the job? Way to go!

Evvai is also, simply, a way to express happiness at something. It's the Italian 'yay!'

Ho vinto! Evvai!
I won! Yesssss!

So stick with it – and keep reading our Words of the Day, of course – and we promise progress will come. And you'll know exactly what to say when it does.

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