Four Italian words that carry opposite meanings

Four Italian words that carry opposite meanings

Did you know that in Italian there are some words that carry opposite meanings? It’s as if the same word could mean both black and white.

Confusing? Well, not so much if you can grasp the right meaning from the context.

Let’s see four Italian words that carry opposite meanings and some examples of their usage.


Avanti is an Italian word that can mean two opposite things.

In fact, avanti can indicate something that happens after a particular date, time, event, etc.

Ex: D’ora in avanti niente più bugie
From now on no more lies

However, avanti can indicate also something that happens before a particular date, time, event, etc.


a. A New York sono cinque ore avanti rispetto a noi
New York is five hours ahead of us

b. Il tempio di Giove Statore è stato costruito nel 146 avanti Cristo
The temple of Giove Statore was built in 146 before Christ


Pauroso is another interesting Italian word that carries opposite meanings.

Pauroso indicates something that causes fear.

Ex: Quella scena del film era davvero paurosa
That scene in the movie was really scary

However, pauroso can indicate also someone who scares easily

Ex: Matteo è proprio un bambino pauroso
Matteo is a child who scares really easily


Curioso is another Italian word that can carry opposite meanings.

Curioso indicates a person that is interested in something and wants to know more about it.


a. Paola è una ragazza molto curiosa
Paola is a very curious girl

b. Federica è curiosa di sapere dove vi siete conosciuti voi due
Federica is curious to know where you two met

However, curioso indicates also something that arouses curiosity beacause it’s weird or unusual.

Ex: E’ curioso che se ne sia andata senza neanche lasciare un biglietto
It’s curious that she left without even leaving a note


The next word that carries opposite meanings is cacciare.

Cacciare in Italian means to send someone away from a place.


a. Giovanni è stato cacciato dal bar
Giovanni was kicked out from the bar

b. Luca è stato cacciato dall’accademia militare
Luca was expelled from the military academy

However, cacciare means also to chase or hunt


a. La polizia sta dando la caccia al sospettato
The police is chasing the suspect

b. Francesco sta cacciando i cervi
Francesco is hunting deers


Original image by geraldfriedrich2

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