Italian is an extremely musical language… But did you know that it is also full of weird words? For example, do you know what the words “zuzzurellone” or “paleonastico” mean? And “peripatetica”? Mmm… don’t miss this video-lesson to know the 10 hardest words in Italian language!

The 10 STRANGEST WORDS in Italian!


This weird word indicates a hard concept to understand beacause it’s too subtle or abstract!


Questo problema di geometria è troppo astruso! Non riuscirò mai a risolverlo! (This geometry problem iss too abstruse! I will never solve it!)


Used to indicate a good for nothing, foolish, ignorant person but that is also presenptuous


Marco è diventato ora un uomo di successo, ma qualche anno fa era gaglioffo! (Now Marco has become a successful man, but some years ago he was an idler


It is used to indicate an argument, a fact or a statement so obvious an taken for granted that would be useless talking about it.

But do you know the weird story from which this word derives? It seems that there was a certain marshal Monsieur de La Palice. At his death the soldiers dedicated some verses in French: “S’il n’était pas mort, il ferait encore envie” (“Se non fosse morto, farebbe ancora invidia”/ If he wasn’t dead he would be still alive ). However, with the passage of time the verses were read and written badly. F in “ferait” became S, turning the word into “serait”, “sarebbe” (would be). The word “envie”, instead, which means “invidia” (envy), became two words: “en vie”, that is “vivo”, “in vita” (alive). So, the original phrase became “S’il n’était pas mort, il serait encore en vie”, or “Se non fosse morto, sarebbe ancora in vita”… Obvious, right?


Non mi aspettavo un discorso così lapalissiano da un politico! (I didn’t expect a so speech from a politician)


It means postponing, delay something to buy time or simply with the intention of not doing what you should do


Se continui a procrastinare la data del tuo matrimonio, ti troverai presto nei guai. (If you keep procrastinating the date of your wedding, you will be in trouble.)


It’s mainly used in a derogatory sense as a synonym for “scemo”, “stupido” (idiot, stupid).


Suo fratello è proprio un mentecatto! Ogni volta che ci vediamo, passa intere ore al cellulare senza rivolgerci la parola! (His brother is such a loony! Every time we meet him, he spends whole hours on his phone without talking to us!


It derives from the name of Licinio Lucullo, a politician of Ancient Rome, famous for his riches and the splendor of which he loved to surround himself! Today, therefore, it indicates something abundant and refined, especially in the gastronomic field.


Per organizzare una cena cosi luculliana, Anna non ha badato a spese! (In order to organize such a sumptuous dinner,  Anna has spared no expense)

7. ZUZZURELLONE                                                                                                                                             

A young man or even an adult who, despite his age, still behaves like a child, so carefree, fun-loving and playful.


Nonostante Roberto sia molto bravo e affidabile nel lavoro, può dare l’impressione di essere un po’ zuzzurellone. Perciò non viene sempre preso sul serio. (Even though Robert is very good and trustworthy at work, he can give the impression to be a bit zazzy)

8. PLEONASTICO                                                                                                                                               

Said of superfluous, useless, unnecessary acts and behavior.


Dirmi di fare attenzione al traffico, quando conosci perfettamente la mia prudenza, è senza dubbio pleonastico. (Telling me to be careful, when you perfectly know my prudence, is surely redundant)

9. SPROLOQUIO                                                                                                                                               

It is an annoyingly long, long-winded, elaborated and inconclusive speech.


I tuoi sproloqui non ti porteranno da nessuna parte. (Your rant won’t bring you anywhere)


The meaning of this word derives from the philosophical school of Aristotle, who used to keep his lessons and discussions walking in the avenue of Athens high school, called Peripato. Therefore, the term refers to what’s done or happens while walking.

Be careful though!!! 

The word PERIPATETICA, feminine, indicates instead a streetwalker, a woman who walks a lot, and refers in particular to a prostitute, who just goes back and forth on the sidewalk.


Io e Marta facciamo sempre delle lunghe chiacchierate peripatetiche quando ci vediamo: entrambe amiamo camminare! (Marta and I always have long peripatetic chats when we meet: we both love walking!)

Of these 10 words, how many did you already know? How many are new? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t miss all our lessons!

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

Leave a Reply