Italian expression of the day: ‘Ci siamo’

Are you up to speed with this useful phrase?

Italian expression of the day: 'Ci siamo'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

If you’ve ever agonised over an Italian menu – and frankly who hasn’t – the chances are a waiter has eventually attempted to bring your deliberations to a close by inquiring: “Ci siamo?

Made up of the verb essere (‘to be’) and the adverb ci (‘here/there’), it literally translates as ‘here we are’, but in the form of a question it can mean anything from ‘Are you ready?’ to ‘All good?’

You can use it to check that someone has understood you, that they agree with you, or that they’re good to go. When a waiter asks your party “Ci siamo?“, he’s checking if you’re ready to order, while if a teacher breaks off her lesson to ask the class “Ci siamo?“, she’s making sure that everyone’s following.

You can also use it as a statement: it’s like saying ‘Here we go’, ‘That’s settled’ or ‘All good!’

Think of ci siamo as a way to say you’ve arrived at a certain point, whether that’s a point of readiness (‘Good to go!’), a point of completion (‘All done!’), a point of understanding (‘Got it!’), or a point of departure (‘Here we go…’).

If you want to be really emphatic, you can say something like “ora sì che ci siamo – ‘Now we’re talking!’ or ‘Now we’re really getting somewhere!’

Naturally, the opposite is non ci siamo – ‘that’s not it’, ‘this is going nowhere’, ‘that’s not on’.

You can even abbreviate it to NCS: ‘nope!’ or ‘nuh-uh!’

And if you’re closer to CS than NCS but not quite there yet, you can say ci siamo quasi: ‘we’re almost there’ or ‘we’re close’.

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

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Italian word of the day: ‘Delusione’

We hope this word doesn't disappoint.

Italian word of the day: 'Delusione'

Experiencing a delusione (deh-loo-zee-OH-neh) in Italian may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you need escorting to the psychiatrist’s chair.

That’s because while delusione may look and sound like its English cousin ‘delusion’, the word actually means something quite different: disappointment.

Disappointment Disappointed GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Food Review GIFs

The two nouns actually have the same root in the Latin dēlūsiō, meaning a deceiving or deluding, and delūdō, meaning to deceive, dupe, or mock.

But while the English ‘delusion’ has hewn close to the original Latin meaning over the centuries, delusione at some point branched off to its current, quite different, definition.

There’s not much in the way of information about exactly when and how that happened, but it’s clearly a short associative hop from feeling ‘deceived’ or ‘duped’ by things turning out differently to what you’d expected to feeling ‘disappointed’.

Che delusione.
How disappointing.

La festa era, purtroppo, una grande delusione.
The party unfortunately was a big disappointment.

Mike Ehrmantraut Breaking Bad Che Delusione No Che Vergogna GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Oh No GIFs

The adjective for ‘disappointed’ is deluso for a single masculine subject, changing to delusa/delusi/deluse if the subject being described is feminine singular/masculine plural/feminine plural.

Era delusa da come era venuta la torta.
She was disappointed with how the cake turned out.

Devo dire che siamo davvero delusi dal fatto che siamo stati trattati in questo modo.
I have to say that we’re very disappointed to have been treated this way.

A word you’ll often see used in combination with deluso/a/i/e is rimanere (ree-man-EH-reh): rimanere deluso.

You might correctly recognise rimanere as meaning ‘to remain’, and wonder why we’d use that word here – but rimanere also has an alternative meaning along the lines of ‘to become’, ‘to get’, or simply ‘to be’.

For example, you can rimanere incinta (get pregnant), or rimanere ferito (get hurt or wounded, for example in a car accident).

It’s also very often used with emotions, usually those experienced in the moment rather than long-term ones: you can rimanere sorpreso (be surprised), rimanere triste (be sad), rimanere scioccato (be shocked)… and rimanere deluso (be disappointed).

Sono rimasto molto deluso quando mi ha detto di aver abbandonato la scuola.
I was very disappointed when she told me she had dropped out of school.

Siamo rimasti delusi dalle condizioni della stanza d’albergo al nostro arrivo.
We were disappointed by the condition of the hotel room when we arrived.

With that, we wish you a weekend free of delusioni (disappointments)!

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