Italian word of the day: ‘Trucco’

Italian word of the day: 'Trucco'
Don't be fooled: make sure you know all the meanings of this descriptive Italian word.
The first time I encountered trucco was when my Italian sister-in-law was helping to plan my wedding. It was top of her list of priorities.

Dobbiamo trovare qualcuno per fare il trucco

– We need to find someone to do your makeup

I didn't understand why this was deemed so necessary (I'd loudly protested that I can put my own mascara on, thank you) until the morning of the wedding, when that makeup artist magically made me look like I'd had more than four hours' sleep the night before.

– aveva un trucco pesante

– she was wearing heavy make-up

And in Italian, trucco is not just makeup. it's also a kind of effect or illusion. You could even say it was a trick, if you wanted to be mean.

And the word is used in all sorts of other, non-cosmetic situations

– i trucchi cinematografici erano impressionanti

– the cinematic effects were impressive

– ti mostro un trucco che riesce sempre 

– I'll show you a trick that always works

– i trucchi del mestiere 

– the tricks of the trade

Depending on the context, it can also be used to describe real deviousness or trickery:

– battere l’avversario con un trucco

– to beat the adversary with a ploy

– Era tutto solo un trucco

– It was all just a gimmick

And apparently, trucco is also the name of a game of lawn billiards popular in the 16th century. Who knew?

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

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