Italian Word of The Day Supported by: Fluente logo For Members

Italian word of the day: ‘Intanto’

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Italian word of the day: ‘Intanto’
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

While you’re here, take a moment to learn this handy word.


Intanto is a word you’ll hear crop up often in Italian conversations.

Its most common English translations are ‘meanwhile’, ‘in the meantime’, ‘for the time being’, or ‘until then’.

Luisa arriverà tra cinque minuti. Intanto entra e mettiti a tuo agio.
Luisa will be here in five minutes. In the meantime, come in and make yourself comfortable.

L’anno prossimo mi laureerò come medico, ma intanto lavoro come cameriera.
Next year I’ll graduate as a doctor, but for the time being I’m working as a waitress.

The dictionary points out that when used as a translation for ‘meanwhile’, intanto can have a somewhat adversarial quality, highlighting the contrast between two situations.

Io sto preparando una cena per dieci persone e intanto te ne stai lì a guardare la TV.
I’m preparing a meal for ten people, meanwhile you sit there watching TV.

Relatedly (talking about highlighting contrasts), intanto is sometimes used to mean ‘however’:

È divieto di fumare nella casa, intanto si può fumare sul balcone.
Smoking in the house is forbidden, however you can smoke on the balcony.


Finally, intanto can mean ‘for starters’, ‘first of all’, or ‘for one thing’.

Allora, intanto, io sono cittadina americana.
First of all, I’m an American citizen.

Alright First Of All Seth Meyers GIF - Alright First Of All Seth Meyers Late Night With Seth Meyers GIFs

Intanto, a te quella mercedes non serve.
For starters, you don’t need that Mercedes.

Intanto sei sempre in ritardo.
For one thing, you’re always late.

Try it out in a conversation this week - and in the meantime, have a browse of our word of the day archive to see what else you can learn.

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

Don’t miss any of our Italian words and expressions of the day: download our new app (available on Apple and Android) and then select the Italian Word of the Day in your Notification options via the User button.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also