A slow internet connection, getting stuck in traffic, a lengthy cabinet address: they’re all tedious, dull, tiresome, mundane: in a word, boring, or in Italian, noioso (nwoy-OH-zoh).
È noioso fare lo stesso lavoro ogni giorno.
It’s boring doing the same job every day.
Molte persone pensano che il golf sia uno sport noioso.
Lots of people think golf is a boring sport.
Like most Italian adjectives, the o ending changes reliably to a/i/e depending on whether the noun being described is masculine or feminine, singular or plural:
Non vuole fare una vita noiosa.
She doesn’t want to live a boring life.
Sempre gli stessi discorsi noiosi.
Always the same boring old speeches.
If something’s really boring, there’s a neat way of getting that across: you can add the intensifier issimo/a/i/e on the end to make noiosissimo (nwoy-oh-ZISS-eem-oh) and its equivalents.
Il ragazzo con cui sono uscita ieri sera era noiosissimo.
The guy I went out with last night was super boring.
Racconta sempre le stesse storie lunghe e noiosissime.
She always tells the same long and very boring stories.
In a spoken context, you might also sometimes hear people exclaim ‘Che noia!’ (kay-NWOY-ah!) – how boring!
What about the state of being bored?
Italian actually has two ways of expressing this. You can just ‘be’ bored, just as we are in English:
Sono annoiata senza di te.
I’m bored without you.
Vieni con noi se sei annoiato.
Come with us if you’re bored.
… or you can ‘bore yourself’ (which doesn’t actually mean that you’re the architect of your own boredom, as it would in English – it’s just another way of saying you’re bored).
Dice che a scuola si annoia da morire.
She says she’s bored out of her mind at school.
Se ti annoi, vai al cinema a vedere il nuovo film di Ridley Scott
If you’re bored, go to the cinema to watch the new Ridley Scott film.
Note that because being bored is a state of being rather than an action, we use the imperfect rather than the perfect tense to describe having been bored in the past:
Quando ci annoiavamo a scuola, facevamo scherzi all’insegnante.
When we were bored at school, we used to play pranks on the teacher.
Se eravate così annoiati perché non mi avete detto niente?
If you were so bored why didn’t you say anything to me?
You’ve made it to the end: we hope that means non vi abbiamo annoiato (we haven’t bored you)!
Is there an Italian word of expression you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.