Open main menu

Wikipedia β

List of English words of Italian origin

This is a partial list of known or supposed Italian loanwords in English. A separate list of terms used in music can be found at List of Italian musical terms used in English:




Art and architectureEdit

Literature and languageEdit

Theatre and dramatic artsEdit

Arts in general and aestheticsEdit

  • Burlesque (from Italian burlesco through French)
  • Capriccio: From capriccio, "sudden motion". In music, a free composition; in art, a juxtaposing of elements to create a fantastic or imagined architecture[10]
  • Cinquecento (Italian Cinquecento from millecinquecento, "1500") The culture of the 16th century[11]
  • Grotesque (from Italian grottesco through French)
  • Pastiche (from Italian pasticcio through French)
  • Picturesque (from Italian pittoresco through French)
  • Quattrocento (Italian Quattrocento from millequattrocento, "1400") The culture of the 15th century[12]
  • Studio



Clothes, accessories, furnitureEdit

  • Baldachin (from Italian baldacchino; Baldacco is an old Italian name for Baghdad)
  • Brocade (from Italian broccato through Spanish)
  • Costume (through French)
  • Jeans (after the city of Genoa through French Gênes)
  • Muslin (through French mousseline from Italian mussolina after the city of Mosul)
  • Organza (after the city of Urgenč)
  • Parasol (from Italian parasole through French)
  • Stiletto (in Italian means "thick dagger", while the shoes are called tacchi a spillo, literally "needle heels")
  • Umbrella (from Italian ombrello)
  • Valise (from Italian valigia through French)

Geography and geologyEdit

  • Archipelago (through Italian arcipelago, from Greek "arkhipélagos")
  • Lagoon (Italian: laguna)
  • Littoral (Italian: litorale)
  • Marina (from Italian "mare", "sea")
  • Riviera (from Italian "riviera", coming from Latin ripa, "coastline")
  • Sirocco (Italian: scirocco, from Arabic)
  • Terra rossa

Some toponym of Latin, Greek, Slavic or Arabic origin referring to non-Italian places entered English through Italian:

territories named after Italian explorers:

Commerce and financeEdit

  • Bank (Italian: banco or banca) [27]
  • Bankrupt (Italian: bancarotta) [28]
  • Capitalism (from Italian capitale)
  • Carat / karat (from Italian carato – from Arabic – through French) [29]
  • Cartel (through French and German, from Italian cartello, meaning "poster") [30]
  • Cash (from Italian cassa through French caisse and Provençal) [31]
  • Credit (from Italian credito through French) [32]
  • Del credere (Italian: star del credere)
  • Ducat (from Italian ducato, whose main meaning is "duchy") [33]
  • Florin (through French from Italian fiorino) [34]
  • Finance (from Italian affinare, meaning 'do something precisely' in economy)
  • Lira [35]
  • Lombard (through French, from Italian lombardo meaning an inhabitant of Lombardy or also Northern Italy) [36]
  • Mercantile (through French) [37]
  • Management (from Italian mano for "maneggiamento", meaning "hand" for 'handlement') [38]
  • Merchandise (from Italian merce)
  • Money (from Italian Moneta)
  • Post (from Italian Posta through French "Poste"[39])

Military and weaponryEdit

  • Arsenal (Italian: arsenale, from Arabic)
  • Brigade (through French from Italian brigata)
  • Brigand (through French from Italian brigante)
  • Cannon (through French from Italian cannone)
  • Cavalier (Italian: cavaliere)
  • Cavalry (through French cavalerie from Italian cavalleria)
  • Catapult (through Latin catapulta from Italian catapulta)
  • Citadel (through French citadelle from Italian cittadella)
  • Colonel (through French from Italian colonnello)
  • Condottieri (Italian: condottiero, pl. condottieri)
  • Infantry (through French infanterie from Italian infanteria; Modern Italian: fanteria)
  • Generalissimo
  • Salvo (Italian: salva)
  • Scimitar (through Italian: Scimitarra from ancient Persian shamshir)
  • Stiletto (Italian stiletto, "little stylus, an engraving tool)
  • Stratagem (through French stratagème from Italian stratagemma, in its turn from Latin and Greek)
  • Venture (Italian: ventura)

Crime and immoralityEdit

  • Assassination (from Italian: assassinio. The first to use this Italian word was William Shakespeare in Macbeth. Shakespeare introduced a lot of Italian or Latin words in English language. Assassin and assassination to derive from the word Hashshashin (Arabic: حشّاشين, ħashshāshīyīn, also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin, means Assassins),and shares its etymological roots with hashish. It referred to a group of Nizari Shia Persians who worked against various Arab and Persian targets.
  • Assassin (from Italian: assassino)
  • Bandit (Italian: bandito)
  • Bordello
  • Casino (in Italian means "hunting cottage" or "brothel", and – figuratively – "mess" or "a lot")
  • Charlatan (through French from Italian ciarlatano)
  • Cosa nostra
  • Mafia and Mafioso


Love and sexEdit

  • Bimbo (from Italian bimbo, "child")
  • Casanova
  • Dildo (from Italian diletto, meaning "pleasure")
  • Inamorata (from Italian innamorata, a female lover)
  • Lothario (Italian: Lotario; however, in Italian it is a first name, but it doesn't mean "lady-killer")
  • Ruffian (Italian: m. ruffiano, f. ruffiana)

Science and natureEdit

words after Italian scientist names:

Religion, rituals, holidaysEdit

Games and sportsEdit

  • Catenaccio: From catenaccio, "door-bolt". A defensive tactic in association football[41]
  • Curva, a curved stadium grandstand
  • Fianchetto (Italian fianchetto, "little flank") A chess tactic
  • Lottery (Italian: lotteria)
  • Tarot (through French) and Taroc (Italian tarocco)
  • Tifo and Tifosi (literally meaning "typhus"; Italian tifosi, "sports fans", "supporters")
  • Tombola
  • Zona mista (literally meaning "mixed zone"; often referred to as "Gioco all'italiana" or "The Game in the Italian style")
  • Libero from Italian libero "free", a defensive specialist posit position in modern volleyball


  • Armature (through Italian plural armature singular armatura; in English rebar, short for reinforcing bar)
  • Berlinetta: From berlinetta, "little saloon". A two-seater sports car[42]
  • Bravado (through French bravade from Italian bravata)
  • Brave (through French from Italian bravo)
  • Capisci ("understand", often misspelled kapish, or kapeesh)
  • Ciao: From ciao, an informal greeting or valediction, originally from Venetian sciavo, "(your humble) servant". Goodbye.[43]
  • Cognoscente (in Italian conoscitore)
  • Dilemma (in Italian means "alternativa tra due posizioni inaccettabili")
  • Dilettante (in Italian means "amateur")
  • Ditto
  • Genoa after the city
  • Gonzo (in Italian means "simpleton", "diddled")
  • Humanist (through French from Italian umanista)
  • Inferno (in Italian means "hell")
  • Latrine (through Italian plural latrine from Latin lavatrina)
  • Lido (in Italian means "coast", usually "sandy coast")
  • Lipizzan (Italian: lipizzano)
  • Major-domo (Italian maggiordomo)
  • Mizzen (through French misaine from Italian mezzana)
  • Paparazzi (Italian paparazzi, plural of paparazzo, the name of a character in the film La Dolce Vita)
  • Pococurante (from poco, little and curante, caring)
  • Poltroon (through French poltron from Italian poltrone)
  • Pronto
  • Regatta (Italian: regata)
  • Vendetta (in Italian means "vengeance")
  • Vista (in Italian means "sight")
  • Viva


  • D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Harper Collins, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^, Lexico Triantaphyllide online dictionary, Greek Language Center (Kentro Hellenikes Glossas), lemma Franc ( Φράγκος Phrankos), Lexico tes Neas Hellenikes Glossas, G.Babiniotes, Kentro Lexikologias(Legicology Center) LTD Publications, ISBN 960-86190-1-7, lemma Franc and (prefix) franco- (Φράγκος Phrankos and φράγκο- phranko-).
  5. ^ Douglas Harper Etymology Dictionary (2001)
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Cantastoria: Centuries-Old Performance Style Making a Comeback", The L Magazine. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2013
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Harper, Douglas. "candy". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "orange n.1 and adj.1". Oxford English Dictionary online. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-30.(subscription required)
  26. ^
  27. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  28. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  29. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  30. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  31. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  32. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  33. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  34. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  35. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  36. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  37. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  38. ^ D. Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2010
  39. ^ Le Petit Robert
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Catenaccio" at
  42. ^ Laban, Brian. The Ultimate History of Ferrari. Bath: Parragon, 2002. ISBN 978-0-7525-8873-5.
  43. ^