Any connoisseurs of Italian television will have noticed that the people on it are very often shouting, crying, telling bad jokes, or all three.
Italian TV can be pretty perplexing for non-Italians. Does watching it help improve my language skills? Maybe. Or maybe not.
Sometimes I do manage to pick out the occasional new word or phrase, and today's word is one of them.
Lacrime is a tragically beautiful word that's so very, very Italian. It means “tears”, and ever since I heard it and looked up the meaning, I now seem to hear it surprisingly often.
Of course, you'll hear it most often in dramatic situations.
– mi ha guardato con le lacrime agli occhi
– he looked at me with tears in his eyes
– Non verserò lacrime quando ci separeremo.
– There will be no tears shed when we part.
– Solo le lacrime lavano il sangue
– Only tears can wash the blood away
– Non ci restano che le lacrime.
– It's all over but the crying
– Sono solo lacrime di coccodrillo.
– They're only crocodile tears
The singular is una lacrima, while in lacrime means to be “in tears”. You can also use it as an adjective, meaning tearful or teary.
– quando ha visto la foto è scoppiata in lacrime
– when she saw the photo she burst into tears
– La famiglia sembrava in lacrime
– The family looked tearful
There's even a verb, lacrimare, which can also mean to cry, or to drip, ooze, or water.
In fact, there are quite a few words we can use to talk about crying in Italian. One you might be familiar with is piangere (to cry)
– piangere a calde lacrime
– to cry one's heart out (literally: “to cry hot tears”)
And it can be used to make an ironic or sarcastic comment in Italian:
– mi piange il cuore:
– my heart bleeds (literally “my heart is crying”)
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.