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Italian word of the day: 'Sfogarsi'

The Local Italy
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Italian word of the day: 'Sfogarsi'
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Let off some steam with this handy Italian word.


Sometimes you just need to vent, cut loose, or let it all out: in other words, as far as Italian is concerned, you need to sfogarsi.

The verb sfogare literally means to release compressed gas or liquid, but also (more commonly) refers to the unleashing of a pent up emotion or energy.

When used in this sense, it's a reflexive verb - sfogarsi - because the release of emotion is something you do to yourself.

That repressed emotion might be frustration or resentment, if you're angry at someone or something.

Si è sfogata la sua rabbia contro di lui.
She lashed out at him in anger.

Bene - ora ti sei sfogato?
Good - have you got that out of your system now?

But sfogarsi can also mean to unburden yourself, to open up to someone, to get something off your chest.

Ieri sera si è sfogato con me sulla morte di sua moglie.
Yesterday evening he poured his heart out to me about his wife's death.

Grazie per avermi fatto sfogare con te su Sara.
Thanks for letting me vent to you about Sara.

Just Let It Out Alexis GIF - Just Let It Out Alexis Alexis Rose GIFs

Or it can mean to satisfy an impulse or to let off steam by having fun, letting loose, using up an excess of energy.

Dopo questi mesi di lavoro intenso, ho bisogno di sfogarmi un' po.
After all these months of hard work, I need to cut loose a little.


- Ma cos'è questo casino?
- Sembra che siano solo dei ragazzi che si sfogano per strada...

- What is this racket?
- I think it's just some kids letting off steam in the street...

This range of possible uses means sfogarsi con qualcuno can mean any of to lay into someone, to unburden yourself with them, or to cut loose with them; the meaning has to be figured out from context.

That makes sfogarsi more versatile than any of its English counterparts, and a particularly handy word to have up your sleeve.

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