Italian word of the day: ‘Suggestivo’

Italian word of the day suggestivo
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
This word might not mean what you think it does.

As an anglophone, you likely wouldn’t describe the crumbling ruins of a castle or a shaded forest as ‘suggestive’.

In English, tagging ‘of’ on the end of ‘suggestive’ means the thing being described brings to mind or is indicative of something else.

“Her songs are suggestive of ancient folk music” or “these figures are suggestive of an economy in decline,” we could say.

But left on its own, ‘suggestive’ has sexual connotations; you might talk about a ‘suggestive remark’, implying that something saucy is being alluded to, or ‘suggestive clothing’ that showcases the wearer’s attributes.

In Italian, however, the word is far more innocent.

Suggestivo typically means atmospheric, evocative, enchanting, or spellbinding.

It could describe a stunning view or a cathedral.

La cappella Sistina è davvero suggestiva.
The Sistene Chapel is really stunning.

La Toscana ha un paesaggio suggestivo che richiama ogni anno tantissimi turisti.
Tuscany has enchanting scenery that every year attracts a large number of tourists.

It could also refer to something more mundane, like a restaurant or hotel.

L’agriturismo si trova in un ambiente molto suggestivo.
The holiday farm is in a very atmospheric location.

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The adjective also has some slightly different meanings, including ‘appealing’:

Immaginava un futuro suggestivo, pieno di successi.
She envisioned an attractive future, full of successes.

Or it can mean ‘leading’, as in a ‘leading question’:

Quella è una domanda suggestiva, non la ammetto.
That’s a leading question, I’m not allowing it.

See if you can fit the word into a spoken sentence, a written restaurant review, or if you want to be ambitious, a courtroom hearing (?!) this week.

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


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