If you had to guess the meaning of today’s word in English, you might say “profit”. And that is almost what it means.
Approfittare has the same Latin root, but as is so often the case, the meaning has shifted a little over time. The modern Italian word can mean “make the most of”, “take advantage of”, “profit from” or “exploit” – becoming darker depending on the context.
– Devo approfittare del silenzio per leggere un libro
– I should take advantage of the silence to read a book
– approfittiamo della bella giornata e andiamo al parco
– Let’s make the most of this nice day and go to the park
– non si deve approfittare della buone fede altrui
– one should not take advantage of the good faith of others
– Ha approfittato della sventura degli altri
– He profited from the misfortune of others
That person who takes advantage of others could be called an approfittatore: an “exploiter” or “opportunist”.
And there’s also an imperative phrase, which is perfect for the last day of an Italian holiday:
– make the most of it!
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