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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

Italian word of the day: ‘Volentieri’

You'll be glad you know this common word.

Italian word of the day: 'Volentieri'
Photo: DepositPhotos

When you want to say ‘yes’ in Italian, sometimes just doesn’t cut it.

It’s ‘yes’ alright, but what about when you really, really mean it?

There’s a word you can use to emphasize your ‘yes’ without resorting to fist pumps. 

We’ve already seen that senz’altro means ‘definitely’ – the kind of ‘yes’ you give when you’re absolutely sure. Volentieri, on the other hand, means ‘gladly’ – the kind of ‘yes’ you say when you’re happy to do so.

– Mi puoi dare una mano?
– Volentieri. 

– Can you give me a hand? 
– I’d be happy to.

– Vuoi uscire con noi stasera?
– Volentieri!

– Do you want to come with us this evening?
– I’d love to!

It comes from the same Latin root – voluntas, meaning ‘free will’ – that gave us the English word ‘voluntarily’, and just like that word, volentieri implies you’re doing something by choice, or ‘willingly’.

L’ho fatto volentieri.
I did it willingly.

But while in English being ‘willing’ might just mean you’re prepared to do something, volentieri usually indicates that you don’t only agree, you’re happy about it too.

Vado volentieri a piedi.
I’m happy to walk.

Accetto volentieri il vostro invito.
It’s my pleasure to accept your invitation.

Say ‘yes’ often enough and you’ll find yourself doing things spesso e volentieri: literally ‘often and gladly’, it’s an informal phrase that means ‘very frequently’.

And if you’re utterly delighted to say yes, you can even accept volentierissimo, or ‘very gladly’. So now you know what to answer next time someone asks you if you fancy a(nother) trip to Italy…

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

This article was originally published in 2019.

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ITALIAN WORD OF THE DAY

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.

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