In two previous articles we saw that in Italian there are words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently according to where the accent falls, and consequently have different meanings.
You can have a look at Tricky words in Italian: Italian homographs and Italian accent – Learn to pronounce Italian words correctly.
However, in Italian there are also words that are spelled the same, are pronounced the same but have still different meanings.
In this article you’re going to learn five common multiple meaning words in Italian.
Caro is one of the Italian words learners learn fast, especially if they mean to visit Italy soon.
Caro in Italian is an adjective and can have two different meanings.
Caro can be referred to a male and means dear, beloved, darling. If it’s referred to a female, it obviously changes into cara.
Caro, andresti a comprare un po’ di gelato?
Darling, would you go and buy some ice cream?
However, caro can also refer to an object and in this case it can be translated as expensive. Even in this case, if the object is feminine the adjective changes into cara.
Questa borsa è troppo cara
This bag is too expensive
Riso is one of the most common multiple meaning words in Italian.
Riso can be both a noun and a verb.
Riso as a noun is a very popular cereal and means rice.
Ieri ho mangiato riso al burro
Yesterday I ate buttered rice
By contrast, riso as a verb is the past participle of the verb to laugh.
Ho riso tantissimo alla sua battuta
I laughed a lot at his joke
Also the word secondo can have multiple meanings in Italian.
Secondo can mean in my opinion.
Secondo me ti sbagli
In my opinion you’re wrong
Secondo can also mean the people or thing that comes after the first, so the second.
Luca è arrivato secondo alla gara
Luca came in second in the race
Secondo can also be a measure of time and means second.
Aspetta un secondo
Wait a second
Finally, secondo is what comes after the main course in Italy, that’s to say the second course.
Di secondo prendo il salmone
I take the salmon as a second course
The Italian word bucato can be both a noun and a verb.
As a noun bucato means laundry.
Oggi ho fatto il bucato
Today I did the laundry
As a verb, instead, bucato is the past participle of the verb bucare, to bore. However, it can also means to get a flat tire.
Ho bucato il muro per appendere un quadro
I bored a hole in the wall to hang a painting
Ieri ho bucato in autostrada
Yesterday I got a flat tire on the freeway
Also the famous word gelato is part of the list of the multiple meaning words in Italian
In fact, gelato as a noun means ice-cream.
Ho mangiato il gelato alla fragola
I ate strawberry ice-cream
In addition to this, gelato is also another way to refer to a microphone typically used by singers and on Tv shows.
Dagli un gelato
Hand him a microphone
Did you already master these five multiple meaning words in Italian?
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