Seven Italian slang expressions

Seven Italian slang expressions - Che palle!

Language learning is a difficult process. You need to master grammar, vocabulary, and when you think you know everything about a language, here comes the slang.

It doesn’t matter if you studied Italian for years or if you hold a degree in foreign languages, when you’ll visit Italy, you’ll discover that Italians use many expressions you didn’t even know they existed. Expressions that you don’t generally learn from coursebooks. Expressions that are part of the Italian slang.

So, with this article I’m starting a new series about Italian slang.

Let’s start with the following seven common expressions.


The Italian question ci sei? can have at least three different meanings according to the context where it’s pronounced.

Ci sei? Can mean:

1- Are you ready?

Ex: Marco, ci sei? Dobbiamo essere alla stazione tra dieci minuti!
      Marco, are you ready? We’ve to be at the station in 10 minutes!

2- Do you come? (usually followed or preceded by a temporal expression like tomorrow, next week, etc)

Ex: Venerdì ci sei alla festa di Paola?
       Do you come at Paola’s party on Friday?

3- Did you understand? or Is everything clear?

Ex: Allora, abbiamo detto che l’imperfetto è usato per indicare un’azione passata abituale o ripetitiva, ci sei fino a  qui?
    So, we said that imperfetto indicates a past action carried out as a habit, is everything clear up till now ?


Che palle is typical Italian slang expression that Italians generally use to indicate annoyance or boredom.

It can be translated in English as How lame! It sucks!

Ex: Domani è già lunedì e mi tocca andare al lavoro, che palle!
      Tomorrow is already Monday and I’ve to go to work, how lame!


Che schifo is an Italian slang expression that can be translated as How disgusting or How gross!

+ Ieri ho mangiato prosciutto e nutella
   Yesterday I ate ham and nutella (hazelnut cocoa sread)
Che schifo!
  How disgusting!


This is a very used Italian expression used to express uncertainty. It means I don’t know or who knows?

+ Ma quanti anni ha Rosa?
   But how old is Rosa?
  I don’t know


Boccalone in Italian is a person who is easily deceived because he’s too willing to believe everything other people say.

So, the Italian slang expression che boccalone can be translated as how gullible in English.

+ Gli ho detto che la pietra sul mio anello è una roccia lunare, e lui ci ha creduto!
   I told him that the stone in my ring is a Martian rock, and he believed me!
Non ci credo! Che boccalone!
  I can’t believe it! How gullible!


Che figata is an Italian slang expression used to say that something is cool.

+ Sai che ho fatto un selfie con George Clooney?
   Did you know I did a selfie with George Clooney?
Veramente? Che figata!
    Really? How cool!


Meno male is an Italian expression used to convey relief or satisfaction that either something happened or that a situation resolved well.

So, it can generally be translated as Thank God!

Ex: Cosa? Hai passato l’esame? Meno male!
       What? Did you passed the exam? Thank God!

Did you already know these seven Italian slang expressions?


Original image by wilkernet


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