Italian word of the day: ‘Imperversare’

Italian word of the day imperversare
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This little word is set to be all the rage.

There are a wide range of verbs you can use in Italian to describe someone getting angry – arrabbiarsi, incollerirsi, accannirsi, and (the vulgar) incazzarsi, to name a few.

But few are as versatile as imperversare.

It can be used simply to mean to rage, rave or rant against something.

La polizia antisommossa imperversò contro i manifestanti.
The riot police raged against the protesters.

Il politico ha imperversato contro il rivale in diretta televisiva.
The politician flew off the handle at his opponent on live TV.

Angry Fran Lebowitz GIF by NETFLIX

But imperversare is one of those rare Italian words whose usage maps almost directly on to the English, meaning it can also be used as a translation for rage in a number of other, more metaphorical, situations.

As well as describing the actions of a person, we can also use imperversare to talk about a physical force like a fire or a storm, or something more abstract like war or disease, ‘raging’ across an area.

L’incendio forestale continua ad imperversare.
The forest fire continues to rage on.

La guerra civile che imperversa da 10 anni nella Siria ha già causato quasi 500 mila vittime.
The civil war that has been raging in Syria for ten years has already taken almost 500 thousand lives.

Slightly differently but relatedly, imperversare can be used to describe something that is rampant or rife.

La corruzione imperversa nel sistema carcerario.
Corruption is rife in the prison system.

And finally, we can use it to talk about something being ‘all the rage’, in terms of rapidly gaining popularity.

Questa canzone imperversava la scorsa estate,
This song was all the rage last summer.

Quest’anno imperversano gli elastici per capelli.
This year scrunchies are all the rage.

Its Coming Back Brad Mondo GIF - Its Coming Back Brad Mondo It Will Come Back GIFs

It’s a word that’s perhaps fallen a bit out of regular usage in recent years, but with a little help, it could become all the rage again.

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.


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