Italian expression of the day: ‘Aria fritta’

Italian expression of the day: 'Aria fritta'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Why is there so much "fried air" in Italy right now?

Aria fritta, literally “fried air”: there’s a lot of it about right now.

It’s the Italian equivalent of “hot air” in English: as the dictionary puts it, “empty and inconsistent words and phrases, statements or promises that do not correspond to reality, that are unfounded and illusory”.

It’s what a lot of people have been complaining about this week as Italy’s government promises to lift more Covid-19 restrictions without committing to many concrete details.

Parlano, parlano, ma è tutta aria fritta.
They talk and talk, but it’s all just hot air.

Another way to say the same thing is fuffa, “fluff”: just like in English, it’s something lightweight, insubstantial and essentially worthless. You might also call it “rubbish” or “crap”.

C’è un sacco di fuffa in giro.
There’s a lot of rubbish going around.

You’re more likely to hear fuffa in the north, especially around Milan, while aria fritta should be understood everywhere in Italy.

Though hopefully you won’t encounter too much of either one.

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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