Confessions of an Italian language learner: the first time I heard the word strepitoso, I thought it must be something nasty. (It’s probably to do with its proximity in the dictionary to streptococco, the bacteria responsible for strep throat.)
But don’t make the same mistake I did: strepitoso (click here to hear it pronounced) is definitely positive.
It comes from the Latin strepere, ‘to make noise’, which also gave Italian the verb strepitare (‘to make a noise or racket’) and the noun lo strepito (‘noise’ or ‘din’).
In its adjective form, strepitoso means literally ‘loud’ or ‘noisy’ – but in a more positive sense than that suggests.
You might hear it said of applause: un applauso strepitoso is ‘thunderous or clamorous clapping’, the kind that an audience only gives when it really, really likes something.
And un successo strepitoso is ‘a resounding success’: something so good there’s not a single wrong note.
By extension you can use strepitoso as a compliment meaning ‘outstanding’, ‘fantastic’ or ‘amazing’, even when it has nothing to do with sound at all.
Abbiamo mangiato uno strepitoso risotto.
We ate an outstanding risotto.
Guarda che panorama strepitoso!
Look at this amazing view!
Sarà un’estate strepitosa.
It’s going to be a fantastic summer.
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