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Italian expression of the day: 'Meno male'

Jessica Phelan
Jessica Phelan - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: 'Meno male'
Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Thank goodness for this phrase.

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Feel like the studying's paid off and you're finally getting all this Italian vocab to stick? 

Meno male, we might tell you: 'just as well'. Click here to hear it pronounced.

This common expression (literally: 'less bad') is a way to welcome a piece of information, while implying that the alternative would be a whole lot worse.

You can translate it as anything from 'just as well' to 'fortunately' to 'thank goodness'.

Sei tornato! Meno male!
You're back! Thank goodness!

You can say it on its own, like in the example above, or specify what you're thankful for by adding che.

Meno male che stai bene.
It's a good job you're ok.

It expresses gladness, gratitude, but most of all, relief. That's why you might hear people use with a big sigh and a wipe of the forehead, like we would say: 'phew!'

The prize for the most notorious (and cringeworthy) usage of this phrase in Italy goes to the song Meno male che Silvio c'e ('Thank goodness for Silvio') by Andrea Vantini, used in late politician Silvio Berlusconi's campaigning with his former party Popolo della Libertà.

Finally, note the spelling: while you might see it written as one word by some, in fact it's most definitely two.

Meno male we checked the dictionary, eh?

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