Italian word of the day: ‘Accipicchia’

Italian word of the day: 'Accipicchia'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Wow, this one's fun to say!

In Italy, you really must expect the unexpected. The only thing we know for sure is that every day here will be full of surprises.

So here’s a handy word that you can use in all of those eye-opening situations – good or bad.

Put simply, accipicchia means “wow!” or “gosh!”

A bit like caspita or cavolo, it’s the kind of inoffensive euphemism that you might use in front of children.

It comes from accidenti, which means something like “damn!” and is itself pretty mild by today’s standards.

But accipicchia has stuck around, maybe because it’s such fun to say.

So how do you say it exactly? ‘Ah-chee-pick-ya’, with a very slight stress on the third syllable.

The wide range of words dictionaries translate it to include the likes of “blimey” “crikey” “shoot” “jeepers”, “jeez” and even “cool beans”. And like these words, accipicchia sounds very mild, even twee.

But we think it’s charming, and it can definitely come in useful.

Whether you’re delighted, frightened or just mildly bewildered, this is an exclamation you can use without fear of causing offence.

– Accipicchia! Mi ha spaventato

– Jeez! You really scared me

– Accipicchia, che cosa cavolo è?

– Gosh, what on earth (literally ‘what the cabbage’) is that?

– Accipicchia! Guardate che traffico!

– Yikes, look at this traffic!

As you can see, this exclamation is usually used at the beginning of a sentence, or alone.

So next time something takes you by surprise, we hope you’ll get some use out of this fun Italian word.

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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