Four Words From Italian that English Really Needs

Language forms thought and reflects the culture. Italians can teach English speakers a few things with the following four words that have no English equivalent, which may be one of the reasons travelers find Itay so enchanting.


Attraversiamo means "Let's cross over," usually referring to a street or road. What a melodic invitation that can vary in intent according to the situation -- a command to a fractious child, an amorous whisper to a lover, a question to a companion, an encouragement to a hesitant walker.


Asolare means to pass time in a delightful but meaningless way. English speakers may call someone's actions lazy, pointless, or time-wasting while missing the truth that down time can be delightful instead of a negative use of the moments of our days. We all asolare, but who dares to admit they spent ten minutes enjoying the sight and scent of one flower or devoted a half hour to staring at the night sky waiting and hoping to see a celestial event that may or may not occur.


Pronto, a greeting, is how Italians answer their phones. It means "I am ready," ready to listen to you, ready to give you my time and attention. Our "hello" phone greeting can mean "I'm happy to hear from you" or "why are you bothering me?" Worse, some people answer with their last names as if callers do not know how to punch in the correct numbers and are too backward to use speed dial.


Gattera is an elderly woman who feeds and cares for stray cats. Our equivalent term "cat lady" conjures a strange, often ragged woman living on the fringe of polite society. The word gattera gives such caring woman an important place in society like the postman and sanitation workers. 

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Dave Child

Dave is the founder of, and has been building websites since the early 90s. He's one of those fortunate people who gets to do what he loves for a living.


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