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Italian word of the day: ‘Ogni’

You'll find this word everywhere. But do you get it right every time?

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

Often, just one Italian word can mean the same thing as a handful of words in English. Today’s is just one example.

Ogni (pronounced on-yee) is a great word to know, as it’s so versatile and frequently used.

While we English speakers might use the words “each”, “every”, “any” and “all” to mean something slightly different, ogni means all of those things. Or, indeed, any of them.

– l’autobus passa ogni 20 minuti

– the bus comes past every 20 minutes

– È arrivato ogni alunno della scuola.

– Every pupil in the school was there.

– Ogni libro è splendidamente illustrato.

– Each book is beautifully illustrated.

Phrases including the word ogni are used frequently to mean things like everyone, everywhere, and every time.

– in ogni luogo

– everywhere

– ogni cosa

– everything

– da ogni parte

– from everywhere

– ad ogni modo

– anyway, anyhow

– ogni volta che

– whenever, every time that…

And the word forms part of lots of other common phrases.

– ogni tanto / una volta ogni tanto

– every so often

– in ogni caso

– In any case, anyhow

Once you know this, you’ll probably be able to figure out the meaning of ogni from the context. Unless, that is, it’s used in idioms like these:

– Ogni morte di papa

– “Every death of a pope,” which is used to talk about rare events, much like the English “once in a blue moon”.

– A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello.

“To every bird, his own nest is beautiful” – the closest translation in English is “There’s no place like home”.

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.