Each one of us would do anything to ward off bad luck. However, sometimes despite all our efforts bad things happen. It’s the case of death, morte, for example.
Death might be the only thing that is certain in life but it is also one of the most prolific topics in terms of language expressions.
Have you ever noticed that when talking about difficult topics, such as death, people tend to use euphemisms to reduce the strength of such topics?
When we want to talk about death in Italian we find many different expressions. Some of them are neutral, some quite rude, other try to be as gentle as possible.
TALKING ABOUT DEATH IN ITALIAN
There are many different verbs and expressions used to talk about death in Italian. Let’s see some of them.
Please bring in mind that the use of such terms really depends on the situation, on the type of person you’re talking about and, finally, on your relationship with the person you’re talking about.
Morire means to die and it’s the only neutral verb that you’ll find in Italian to express such a concept.
Giorgio è morto ieri
Giorgio died yesterday
Also crepare means to die but it’s stronger than morire and definitely less respectful. Just think that, according to Treccani dictionary, this verb was once used only for animals.
Francesco è crepato ieri in casa
Francesco died yesterday in his home
Schiattare means to die and it’s a typical verb used in informal Italian to say that someone is dead.
Be aware that as I mentioned before, the use of all these expressions is related to the situation, we would never use schiattare with the family or with close friends of the departed.
Valerio è schiattato sul lavoro
Valerio died on the job
ANDARE ALL’ALTRO MONDO
Andare all’altro mondo is an expression that Italians specifically invented to talk about death.
This expression literally means to go to the other world and is considered rather gentle if you want to talk about someone who’s dead in Italian.
Ieri notte Francesca è andata all’altro mondo
Yesterday night Francesca passed away
PASSARE A MIGLIOR VITA
Passare a miglior vita literally means to move to a better life. This is in my opinion the gentlest idiomatic expression you can use to talk about someone who died.
Lucia è passata miglior vita
Lucia passed away
MORIRE, CREPARE, SCHIATTARE
It must be noticed that morire, crepare and schiattare have also other uses.
Indeed, they can also be used to:
1. Indicate you’ve reached your saturation point.
Sto morendo/crepando/schiattando di sonno
I’m asleep on my feet
Sto morendo/crepando/schiattando di fame
Sto morendo/crepando/schiattando di caldo
This heat is killing me
Sto morendo/crepando/schiattando dal ridere
I’m dying of laughter
Sto morendo/crepando/schiattando d’invidia
I’m green with envy
2. Wishing someone to die.
I hope s/he dies!
May you die!
These are the most common expressions used to talk about death in Italian. Can you come up with other expressions to talk about death in Italian?
Original image by jpeter2