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Italian expression of the day: 'In giro'

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Italian expression of the day: 'In giro'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond"

We're not joking when we say you need to learn this Italian phrase.


Today’s phrase is one that you’ll hear often in Italian conversation, but you’ll need to listen carefully to understand the meaning.

You might be able to guess that the Italian word giro, from the Ancient Greek gûros, meaning 'circle', has something to do with turning or moving around.

The Italian noun giro translates literally as a turn, rotation, or some kind of circle or circumference.

- Il giro di chiave

- The turn of a key

- il giro della Terra

- The rotation of the Earth

- il giro delle mura

- The city walls

It can also refer to a tour or circuit – see Il Giro d’Italia, for example.

You'll also hear it used within noun phrases such as un giro di parole (a turn of phrase, or a manner of speaking) or il giro d’affari, the turnover of a business.


In spoken Italian you're very likely to hear the common phrase in giro, which means 'around' or 'about'. This is used in all sorts of ways.

It's most often used after a verb, for example:

Andare in giro means to wander about or walk around, while to fare un giro usually means to take a trip or go for a drive.

- Abbiamo fatto un giro attorno al castello

- We took a walk around the castle

- Mi fai fare un giro sulla tua moto?

- Will you let me have a ride on your motorbike?

Just like in English, you can also use being 'taken for a ride' figuratively to mean being misled or made a fool of.

- Mi stai prendendo in giro

- You’re making fun of me

Similarly, presa in giro is also used to mean a joke.

- è stata una grande presa in giro

- It was all a big joke.

That’s why you’ll have to listen so carefully to understand what the speaker means when using this common phrase. Sometimes learning Italian really is no joke!

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