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Italian word of the day: 'Scorciatoia'

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

Struggling with your Italian? Let us teach you a shortcut.


When it comes to slogging your way through Italian grammar, it's tempting to look for a shortcut that will save you having to memorise those myriad verb endings.

We can't help with that, unfortunately - but we can teach you the Italian word for shortcut, which is scorciatoia.

It's roughly pronounced 'scorch-ah-toy-ah' - hear it here.

Di qua, conosco una scorciatoia attraverso il campo.
This way, I know a shortcut through the field.

Hai detto che questa era una scorciatoia e ora siamo in ritardo di 20 minuti.
You said this was a shortcut and now we're 20 minutes late.

It comes from the (now old-fashioned) verb scorciare, meaning to shorten or foreshorten. You probably won't encounter that word very much, but you're more likely to come across the related noun uno scorcio, meaning 'a glimpse' (literally, something like a 'shortened view').

Just like in English, you can 'take' (prendere) a shortcut:

Prendiamo una scorciatoia per il giardino.
Let's take a shortcut through the garden.


And a 'keyboard shortcut' is just that: a scorciatoia da tastiera, which can simply be shortened to scorciatoia (the meaning is understood from context).

Si può sottolineare il testo con una semplice scorciatoia da tastiera in Microsoft Word.
You can underline text with a simple keyboard shortcut in Microsoft Word.

As una scorciatoia is a feminine noun, it's made plural by swapping out the a ending for an e to make scorciatoie (SCORCH-a-TOY-eh).

Non ci sono scorciatoie, questo è sicuro.
There are no shortcuts, that much is certain.

Just like in English, a scorciatoia can be metaphorical as well as literal, and can carry the negative connotation of getting somewhere fast by sacrificing quality or necessary effort.

Quando si tratta della qualità, non prendiamo scorciatoie.
When it comes to quality, we don't cut corners.

There might be no easy shortcuts when it comes to learning Italian - but at least now you know how to express your desire for one.

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