How to express ENTHUSIASM and WONDER in Italian

In the following lesson we are going to see a series of alternatives to the word “bello/a” (nice/cool) that is used a lot by both Italians and foreigners to express enthusiasm or joy when we are told something interesting, so much that is redundant. Stay with us to improve your vocabulary with these valid alternatives!

The best alternatives to BELLO

Let’s start with the words/expressions, in blue, that express enthusiasm and wonder for something unexpected or interesting and that can be used in every context:

1) ACCIDENTI! (Wow!)

This alternative expresses an extremely high degree of wonder and enthusiasm.

Example: “– Ho ottenuto una promozione a lavoro: mi trasferisco a Tokyo! – Accidenti! Bisogna festeggiare allora!” (- I got a promotion at work: I’m moving to Tokyo! – Wow! This calls for a celebration!)

Then we find:

2) NON MI DIRE! (No kidding!)

Don’t be deceived: this one must not be read as a verb in the imperative form, but as an exclamation to express wonder and enthusiasm for something incredible!

Example: “– Loredana si sposa giovedì! – Non mi dire! Pensavo che sarebbe rimasta single a vita…” (- Loredana is getting married on Thursday! – No kidding! I thought she would be a spinster forever!)

Another expression with a very similar meaning is:

3) NON CI CREDO! (No way!)

Example: “– Sono appena tornato da un giro intorno al mondo! – Non ci credo! E quanto tempo sei stato via?” (-I just got back from a trip around the world! – No way! How long have you been away?)

4) MA VERAMENTE? / SUL SERIO? (Really? Are you serious?)

These ones are rhetorical questions, namely we are well aware that our interlocutor will always answer us by saying “Sì, è vero!” (Yes, it’s true!), nevertheless we use them to emphasize that we are amazed and excited!

Example: “– Mi sono laureato in medicina! – Ma veramente? Pensavo ti impressionasse il sangue!
– Sì, è vero, ma la mia ambizione ha avuto la meglio sulle mie paure!” (- I graduated from med school! -Really? I thought blood upset you! – Yes, it’s true, but my ambition got better of my fears!)

5) CHE NOTIZIA! (that’s great news)

It indicates that what we have been told has aroused a great interest and enthusiasm in us.

Example: “– Sono stato invitato a un evento esclusivo a bordo di uno yacht! – Che notizia! E cos’hai fatto per ricevere questo invito così importante?” (- I’ve been invited to an exclusive event on board a yacht! – That’s great news! What did you to get such an exclusive invitation?)

6) E CHI SE LO ASPETTAVA! (Who would’ve seen that coming?)

This formula is used when we’re particularly surprised

Example: “– Luigi ha avuto due bambini con la sua nuova compagna! – E chi se lo aspettava! Pensavamo tutti che fosse sterile!” (- Luigi had two kids with her partner! – Who would’ve seen that coming? We all thought he was sterile!)

7) EVVIVA! (Hooray/Long live)

This exclamation is mainly used to exult, to express enthusiasm. Sometimes, it can be also followed by the noun we want to emphasize.

Example: “– Oggi mangeremo della frittura di pesce al ristorante di zio. – Sì! Evviva!!
– E poi mangeremo anche un bel gelato! – Evviva il gelato!” (- Today we are going to have a fish fry for lunch at my uncle’s restaurant! – Yes! Hooray!! -And then we are going to eat an ice cream! –  Long live the ice cream!)

8) NON VEDO L’ORA! (I can’t wait!)

This expression means “I can hardly wait because I’m already thinking at the moment (the hour) in which that thing will occur”.

Example: “– Sabato è il mio compleanno! Sei invitato alla mia festa in riva al mare! – Non vedo l’ora! Ci sarò!” (- Saturday is my birthday! You’re invited to my party on the waterfront! – I can’t wait! I’ll be there!)

9) SONO ELETTRIZZATO/A! (I’m thrilled!)

This alternative indicates a particular excitement for something

Esempio: “– Questa sera hai l’appuntamento romantico con quella ragazza di cui mi hai parlato qualche giorno fa, non è vero? – Sì! Andremo a mangiare sushi! Sono elettrizzato!” (- Tonight you are going on a date with that girl you told me about a few days ago, aren’t you? – Yes! We are going to eat sushi! I’m thrilled!)

Now let’s see, in red, the words/expressions expressing enthusiasm and wonder for an invitation, a proposal, and idea or something unexpected, that are exclusively used in informal contexts:

10) BESTIALE! (Insane!)

Example: “Bestiale! La tua casa è fantastica: non ho mai visto tanta ricchezza in un solo appartamento! – Sono una patita del lusso!” (- Your house is amazing: I’ve never seen so much wealth in an apartment! It’s insane! – I’m a fan of luxury!)

11) TOP!

This word has become popular only recently

Example: “– Guarda, sono riuscita a procurarmi due biglietti per il concerto di Jovanotti! – Top! Non vedo l’ora di andarci!” (- Look, I managed to get the tickets to the Jovanotti concert! – Top! I can’t wait to go!)

12) ADORO! (I love it!)

This word has become popular, especially among girls thanks to the song of the singer  M¥SS KETA.

Example: “– Ieri sera sono uscita con un tipo ricchissimo: è venuto a prendermi con una Ferrari!
Adoro!” (- Last night I went on a date with a very wealthy guy: he came to pick me up with his Ferrari! – I love that!)

13) CA**O! (The f**k!)

Even though this is a very well-known swearword, it’s often used in conversations, especially among young people.

Example: “– Quel ragazzo che a scuola era sempre vittima di bullismo ora è diventato un manager di successo! – Ca**o! Sono davvero molto felice per lui!” (- That guy who was often bullied, has now become a successful manager! – I’m so f**king happy for him!)

14) MUOIO! / STO MALE! (Hurting from laughing/That cracks me up)

As much as these alternatives might sound unfortunate, we actually use them when what we see or what we hear is so funny and/or interesting that we laugh or we’re excited enough to start feeling bad, as if we’re about to die.

Example: “– Mentre stavo entrando nel locale, sono inciampata e sono caduta per le scale  – Sto male! Ma immagino che ora tu sia piena di lividi, no? – Un po’! Ma sai che ora tutti mi riconosceranno? – Muoio! Ormai sei quella che è caduta per le scale in discoteca!” (- While I was entering the club, I tripped and fell down the stairs. – I’m hurting from laughing! But now you’re covered in bruises, aren’t you? – A bit! You’re aware everybody’s going to recognize me, aren’t you? -That cracks me up! Now you’re the girl that fell down the stairs in the disco club!)

The last alternative is:

15) BOMBA! (What a blast!)

This word is used to express a particular appreciation for something we are told

Example: “– Ho comprato il nuovo MacBook Pro! – Bomba!” (- I bought the new MacBook Pro! -What a blast!)

Well, these are the various alternatives to “bello”, but if you want to learn other informal colloquialisms, you can take a look at our video on Italian slang or, if you want to relax with a good read, don’t miss our book Italiano Colloquiale, it will be very useful to you!

Let’s see if you’ve mastered the contents of this class. Have a go at completing the exercises!

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