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Italian word of the day: 'Subito'

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Italian word of the day: 'Subito'
Photo: DepositPhotos
14:56 CEST+02:00
You'll want to start making use of this word right away.

One word you'll hear inserted into Italian conversation really often is subito.

Although I'd never heard this little word before I arrived in Italy, it seemed pretty obvious that it meant “soon” or “now”.

- torno subito

- I'll be back soon

- Vieni subito qui!

Come here right now!

Lo faccio subito

- I'll do it straight away

Ha accettato subito

He accepted immediately

I hear it most often in cafes:

lo porterò subito

I'll bring it right away

But as soon as I started dropping subito into my own Italian sentences I realised that, of course, it wasn't always that simple.

Subito comes from the Latin adjective subitus, meaning sudden or unexpected. As it has evolved into modern Italian, the word has gained a few shades of meaning depending on context.

For example, it can mean “just”:

- Parto subito prima di mezzanote

- I leave just before midnight

And we might be used to translating the word "quickly" as velocemente or presto. But there are some examples in which it can translate as subito

- una pittura che asciuga subito

- a paint which dries quickly

- è subito fatto

- It's quickly done.

While it might take longer than we'd all like to become fluent in Italian, using this word properly will make you sound more proficient – subito!


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.


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