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Italian word of the day: ‘Parecchio’

You'll probably hear this word a lot in Italy. But are you using it correctly?

Italian word of the day: 'Parecchio'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

When you begin studying Italian, you’ll quickly learn a few quantifying adverbs such as molto, tanto, and poco. And you’ll use these often, right from the moment you start stringing sentences together.

But when you’re speaking to Italians there’s another word you’re likely to hear used just as often: parecchio.

Depending on context, parecchio can be used in place of all the words and phrases we might use to quantify things in English: “lots of”, “loads of”, “plenty of”, “a good/great deal of”, “much”, “quite a lot of”, “some”, or “a fair bit of”.

Like these phrases, parecchio is usually added before a noun to quantify it.

– Sto seguendo questo dibattito da parecchio tempo

– I’ve been following this discussion for quite some time.

– Carlo ha viaggiato parecchio nella sua vita.
– Carlo has travelled a great deal in his life.
– Avrò bisogno di parecchio aiuto
– I’m going to need a lot of help

If you use it with a feminine noun, it takes a feminine form:

C’e parecchia gente

– There are a lot of people

READ ALSO: The top ten Italian words that just don’t translate into English

As it’s a quantifying adverb – also called an adverb of intensity – parecchio can also be used with adjectives to increase their intensity: for example instead of saying “really”, or very”.

It doesn’t work with all adjectives, but here are some examples:

– Forse anche lui è parecchio sveglio

– He’s probably also very smart

– Sono persone parecchio infelici

– They’re very unhappy people

With an adjective, you might also use it at the end of the sentence for a different emphasis, for example:

– Il tuo comportamento mi sorprende parecchio

– I’m really surprised at the way you’re behaving.

Similar words you’ll hear a lot in Italian conversation include abbastanza, appena and più.

Once you’ve got these words memorised, hopefully your Italian teacher will say:

– Mi pare che tu abbia migliorato parecchio

– I think you’ve improved a great deal

Do you have a favourite Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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For members


Italian word of the day: ‘Inciucio’

Here's a word you'll need to deal with ahead of Italy's elections.

Italian word of the day: 'Inciucio'

With two days to go until Sunday’s general election, there’s talk of a potential ’inciucio’ everywhere from the pages of newspapers to the heated conversations at sports bars up and down the country.

So what is an ‘inciucio’ and why does the word seem to be on everyone’s lips whenever Italy faces elections?

Briefly, ‘inciucio’ is political jargon that describes any type of dubious agreement or, if you will, compromise reached by two or more political parties generally holding opposite views and ideals.

There’s no direct translation into English, though a native speaker would probably refer to it as something of a dodgy backroom deal.

Non c’è una maggioranza chiara. 

Eh, figurati. Faranno il solito inciucio.

There isn’t a clear-cut majority.

Oh, that’s not new. They’ll go for the usual deal.

Such an agreement is usually necessary when forming a large coalition government, with terms largely assumed to be based on the “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” principle. 

READ ALSO: Salvini vs Meloni: Can Italy’s far-right rivals put differences aside?

With that definition in mind, it’s hard not to see why ‘inciucio’ is such a commonly-used word in Italy, a country whose political class has historically been partial to improbable alliances with their previously hated rivals. 

Cosa pensi delle prossime elezioni?

Preferisco non pensare. Ne ho avuto abbastanza di questi inciuci. 

What do you think of the next elections?

I’d rather not think. I’ve had enough of these political deals.

Purtroppo, con questa legge elettorale, l’inciucio tra partiti è l’unica via per avere un governo…

Fammi un piacere. Gli inciuci esistevano anche 60 anni fa, molto prima di questa legge elettorale.

Sadly, with the current electoral system, a compromise between different parties is the only way to form a new government.

Do me a favour. These types of agreements existed 60 years ago, well before the present electoral system.

While the noble art of the inciucio goes back a long way in the history of republican Italy, the term itself was only coined in 1995 by Massimo D’Alema, then secretary of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD). 

The expression only rose to popularity a couple of years later, when the founder of the term thought it fit to put the word to good use and reached a ‘non-aggression pact’ with the then-leaders of Italy’s right-wing coalition – the agreement went down in history as the patto della crostata or ‘pie pact’ – but we’ll keep that story for another time.

Ever since then, the term ‘inciucio’ has been regularly used by political commentators as well as the wider public to discuss the various power plays of the country’s major political forces.

For instance, the most classic of inciuci was at the foundation of Giuseppe Conte’s first cabinet back in 2018, when Matteo Salvini’s League and Luigi Di Maio’s Five-Star Movement unexpectedly found sufficient common ground to form a coalition government.

So, will we see another inciucio this time around?

Given the unpredictable nature of Italian politics, you’ll forgive us for not ruling out the possibility of another inciucio just yet.