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Italian word of the day: ‘Fastidio’

We hope you don't mind if we take you through a brief explanation of this word.

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

If you ever hear someone described as fastidioso (‘fast-eed-ee-OH-zoh) in Italian, it doesn’t mean they’re fastidious.

Instead, it means annoying or bothersome.

Mio fratellino è molto fastidioso.
My little brother is very annoying.

Siete tutti davvero fastidiosi.
You are all really annoying.

È estremamente fastidioso che l’autobus sia sempre in ritardo di almeno 30 minuti.
It’s extremely annoying that the bus is always at least 30 minutes late.

Really Annoying Real Housewives Of Orange County GIF - Really Annoying Real Housewives Of Orange County Super Annoying GIFs

The adjective comes from the noun fastidio (‘fast-EED-ee-oh’), meaning bother, hassle, annoyance, discomfort, or inconvenience; which in turn comes from the Latin fastidium, meaning loathing or disgust. 

Fastidium is thought to be a crossover of fastus, meaning something like pride or disdain, and taedium, meaning tedium; so you can see how we got both the modern Italian sense of ‘annoying’ and the modern English sense of ‘overly concerned with detail’ from the original.

The noun fastidio is generally used in combination with the verb dare (‘to give’), to talk about ‘giving someone’ trouble or annoyance by bothering them or putting them out; one of the most common uses is to ask someone whether they ‘mind’ something.

Ti da fastidio se lasciamo i bagagli qua per qualche ora?
Do you mind if we leave our bags here for a few hours?

– Luca, vieni da me e lascia la signora in pace.
– Tranquilla, non mi da fastidio.

– Luca, come here and leave the lady in peace.
– Don’t worry, he’s not bothering me.

Voglio sapere perché ti da così tanto fastidio.
I want to know why it bothers you so much.

Bake Off Italia Fastidio GIF - Bake Off Italia Fastidio Mi Da Fastidio GIFs

Another way to talk about getting annoyed is via the related verb infastidire. As with the Italian verb annoiarsi (to get/be bored; literally: ‘bore oneself’), you can infastidirsi (‘get annoyed’; literally: annoy oneself), or something specific can be the source of your irritation:

Mi infastidisco quando leggo cose del genere sui giornali.
I get annoyed when I read things like that in the news.

Perché ultimamente ti infastidisco?
Why are you getting annoyed with me lately? (literally, “why am I annoying you lately?”)

Si infastidisce ogni volta che cerco di parlarne.
She gets annoyed every time I try to bring it up.

That’s enough bother for one day: see if you can get fastidio in to a conversation this week without putting yourself out too much.

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

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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.