For members


Italian word of the day: ‘Cotto’

Try not to get too hot and bothered about this word...

Italian word of the day cotto
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Literally, the Italian adjective cotto/a means cooked or baked, which is where we get familiar words like terracotta (‘baked earth’) and panna cotta (‘cooked cream’).

But it also has another common slang meaning (not the one that might immediately jump to the the mind of an anglophone…).

Essere cotto/a is to be smitten or infatuated with someone, to have a big crush on them.

È ovvio che sei cotta di Paolo.
It’s obvious you’re infatuated with Paolo.

Trash Italiano Grande Fratello GIF - Trash Italiano Grande Fratello Grande Fratello Vip GIFs

The sentence doesn’t necessarily need an object – someone can simply be cotto/a without the need to specify the object of their desires – but if there is an object, it should be preceded by the preposition di.

Ve lo dico, sono cotto.
I’m telling you, I’m smitten.

Ero cotta di te a scuola.
I had a crush on you at school.

Le ragazze sono cotte del nuovo vicino.
The girls have a crush on the new neighbour.

If you want to add emphasis, you can use the slightly more poetic (and less common) innamorato/a cotto/a: head over heels, or desperately in love.

Non la tradirebbe mai, ne è innamorato cotto.
He would never cheat, he’s madly in love with her.

Senti, Alba ha già un ragazzo di cui è innamorata cotta.
Listen, Alba already has a boyfriend she’s crazy about.

Will Ferrell Crush GIF by filmeditor

Cotta, with an ‘a’, isn’t necessarily an adjective; you might also see it used as a noun, meaning crush. Just like in English, you avere una cotta, or ‘have a crush’; the relevant preposition now becomes ‘per’.

Aveva una cotta per lei fin dall’inizio.
She had thing for her from the very beginning.

Ho una cotta pazzesca per lui.
I have a huge crush on him.

And your first crush is your prima cotta.

Sarai per sempre la sua prima cotta.
You’ll always be his first crush.

Parlami della tua prima cotta.
Tell me about your first crush.

Now whether you want to tease your friends or declare your true feelings to the object of your desire, you’ll be ready!

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

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


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.