10 (BAD) JOKES in Italian

What’s a “battuta squallida” in Italian? A “battuta squallida” (or freddura) in Italian is a funny and witty pun, a play on words.

Italian jokes that will make you cry with laughter (maybe)

In this article we’ll give you 10 (bad) jokes in Italian, with the explanations of their meanings.

1. “Che cosa fanno otto cani in mare?”

“Il can-otto!”

The question is quite simple and it refers to what eight dogs might do at sea. The answer plays on the words “cane” and “otto“, joining them together and creating the word “canotto“, which is what you call a small boat used for transporting people in Italian.

2. “Cosa fa un ginocchio in discesa?


The question asks what a knee is doing on a downhill slope.

The answer plays on the word “rotula” (a bone found in the knee), which sounds very similar to the verb “rotolare” (which means “to roll over”).

3. “Ma se io mi metto la camicia di lino, poi Lino che si mette?”

This joke is based on the repetition of the word “lino“.

In Italian, the noun “lino” refers to the fabric of which the shirt is made (linen). Whereas Lino (with a capital “L”) is an Italian proper noun.

The joke lies precisely in playing on the proper noun, thus wondering what Lino might wear if the “lino” shirt is already being worn by someone else!

4. “Cosa fa un gallo in chiesa?”

“Il chicchirichetto!”

The answer is a pun between “chicchirichì”, the onomatopoeic version of a rooster’s cry, and “chierichetto“, a young man who performs liturgical functions in a church.

5. “Vorrei acquistare una camicia.”

“La taglia…?”

“No, la porto via intera.”

Imagine you’re in a store in Italy and you ask the clerk for a shirt to buy. The clerk asks you which size you usually wear: “La taglia?“.

However, such question has a double meaning in Italian, as it can also be formed by a direct pronoun (la) and the verb “tagliare” (to cut). So, the joking answer to this freddura can only be “la porto via intera”, which alludes to the fact that we don’t want our shirt to be cut!

6. “Ho finito le battute in serbo… e adesso inizio quelle in croato”

The sentence plays on the expression “in serbo“, which has a double meaning in Italian: it can mean “to be kept aside” (jokes kept aside, perhaps stored in our mind); but it can also indicate “in the Serbian language”.

That’s how the joke is born: we ran out of jokes “in serbo” (in Serbian), so it’s time for those “in croato” (in Croatian).

7. “Che vitaccia!” – disse il cacciavite.

Screwdrivers are inanimate objects that cannot speak, but jokes are absurd sometimes.

The “cacciavite” is the tool to tighten “viti” (screws) and it says that it’s been living a “vitaccia” (a though life).

Vitaccia” has two meanings: 1. a hard life; 2. a screw that doesn’t work well.

8. “Ma perché i gatti hanno i canini ma i cani non hanno i gattini?”

This joke plays on the dog/cat opposition.

The canini are a type of sharp teeth that all animals (including humans) have.

The word “canino” plays on the similarity with the word “cane” (“canino” as in a small dog).

Cats have “canini”, just like any other animal, but dogs do not have “gattini”!

9. “Qual è la città preferita dai ragni?”


“Mosca” is the capital of Russia in Italian (Moscow). However, the word “mosca” (with “m”, lower-case letter) also refers to a type of insect that spiders love catching by wrapping them in their webs.

10. “Un uomo entra in un caffè. SPLASH!”

In Italian, “entrare in un caffè” means “to enter a café”, as in the place where coffee is served.

However, if we take the phrase literally, “entrare in un caffè” means to go inside the actual drink.

If someone were to enter the drink, the sound that they would make would be “SPLASH!”, which is the onomatopoeic sound of the falling of something into a liquid.

These jokes were bad, yet so funny! If you liked this topic, you can learn more about other peculiar expressions by reading this article about Italian tongue twisters.

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