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

Italian word of the day: 'Truffa'

Elaine Allaby
Elaine Allaby - [email protected]
Italian word of the day: 'Truffa'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

This little word is less innocent than it sounds.


Whether it's conmen who pose as utility workers to gain access to your home, or the estate agent who instructs you to pay your rental deposit into his wife's bank account because "it's what the landlord wants", sooner or later in Italy you're going to find yourself the target of a truffa: that is, a scam.

As pleasing as it sounds to the ear and as trippingly as it rolls off the tongue, a truffa ('TRRROOFF-ah' - hear it pronounced here) in fact represents a menace, something to be cannily sidestepped.

It comes from the Old French word trufle, meaning a false or idle tale, an item of little value, or a mockery or deception.
Trufle (and its diminutives trufe and truffe) is also believed to have meant 'truffle' - which is ironic given the sky-high prices a prime specimen can command at auction today.
In English, this word evolved into 'trifle' - something of little importance (as well as a delicious dessert) - while in Italian, it became truffa, and means hustle, grift, or con.

È stata tutta una gigantesca truffa.
It was all a giant scam.

Conosco tutte le truffe da manuale.
I know all the grifts in the book.

Truffa is easily transformed into a verb in truffare. Like the English equivalents 'to cheat', 'to scam' or 'to swindle', it's a transitive verb, needing a sentence object to receive the action: you can truffare someone or (if you're unlucky) be truffato by someone else.

Quel imbroglione mi ha truffato migliaia di euro.
That crook swindled me out of thousands of euros.


Finally, a fraudster is a truffatore, or if a woman, a truffatrice.

Lei è una delle più grandi truffatrici di tutti i tempi.
She's one of the greatest con artists of all time.

Woman Talking GIF - Woman Talking Viperissima GIFs

Is there an Italian word of expression 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 by downloading our new app (available on Apple and Android) and then selecting 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