Italian word of the day: ‘Rientro’

Is it that time already?

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

If you live in Italy you’ll be hearing this phrase used a lot in the coming days and weeks.

In fact, it’s practically impossible to avoid talk of ‘il rientro’ as the long summer holidays come to an end.

The word rientro, as you may be able to guess, literally translates as ‘reentry’ or ‘return’, and this is the term used for the start of the school year or the return to work after the summer holidays.

It can be used at the start of any new school term or after other holidays, but the end-of-summer event is something pretty much the whole country takes part in at once – hence why it’s often referred to this time as ‘Il grande rientro‘.

And, as you’ll know if you live in Italy, it takes on a greater sense of importance than the literal English translation might suggest.

– Siete pronti per il rientro?

– Are you ready to go back to work/school?

Just as the Ferragosto mid-August holiday is a sacred national tradition, with most of the country taking their ferie or annual leave over the same few weeks, so then is the return home afterwards. 

READ ALSO: How do Italy’s public holidays compare to other EU countries?

As such, at the end of August Italy experiences the controesodo the opposite of the early August esodo or exodus, when pretty much the entire country goes on holiday at once, always resulting in huge traffic jams.

With everyone coming back from their holidays at once, the country’s roads and railways are similarly packed once more – but the mood is decidedly lower this time.

‘Traffic, red alert on Sunday for the first controesodo of August’ – Headline from newspaper La Repubblica on August 22nd, 2021.

While the controesodo is tinged with post-holiday sadness, there’s some excitement and relief about the rientro – parents are quite glad to send children back to school after more than two months, and there’s the fun of your favourite restaurants reopening and catch ups with friends after their holidays. 

– Il giorno dopo il rientro a casa, sono andato a trovare i miei amici

– The day after we returned home, I went to visit my friends

Il rientro signals a nationwide change of pace and mood. It’s time to get going again, in every sense, after weeks – if not months – of long family lunches, afternoon naps, and quiet days at the beach.

Some people even see it as a kind of new beginning, not unlike the New Year.

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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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.