Easy Italian Lesson 3: English in Italian

Easy Italian -- Lesson 3 -- English in Italian:


English words in Italian are the very easiest Italian words, because these are words you already know well from English.

Many English words in Italian are modern terms for new technological developments, when there are no existing words in Italian for these new developments.

These words still retain their English spelling and pronunciation in Italian (to a greater or lesser degree).

On a visit to Italy, you will see these English words in Italian -- or maybe even hear a few amid the otherwise incomprehensible flow of spoken Italian words.

For example, Italian advertising sometimes uses English words.

These words from English are so common in Italian that just about everyone in Italy knows and uses them, regardless of their English skills.

On your visit to Italy, you will see or hear these words from English jump out at you like old friends from home.


In these Easy Italian Lessons are stories were written by someone taking a first trip to Italy -- and discovering that many Italian words are similar to English words.

In the following diary entry, the WORDS IN CAPITAL LETTERS are English words used in Italian.


Dear diary,

Here I am finally in Italy after dreaming about it so long!

I was prepared to get really lost and confused by the Italian language. But to my surprise every now and then I hear words that are very familiar. One reason is that there are English words used by the Italians.

For example, I went out with Maria and Fabio, my new Italian friends, and they suggested going for HAMBURGERS and HOT DOGS. I said yes right away - at least I know what I am eating! Outside the bar next door was a sign saying COCKTAILS, and it said that they served SANDWICHES too.

We start walking down the street when Maria saw a T-SHIRT on sale that she had to have. Then Fabio bought one too, an EXTRA LARGE. Then Fabio picked up il CD at an electronics store.

Maria suggested we go CAMPING on Sunday. I thought it was a very good idea, but Fabio reminded us that his CAMPER was not in good working condition, and to rent one would be very expensive.

He suggested instead going to a BASEBALL game where one of his friend was playing. Maria and I approved the idea with a big O.K.!

I'm so excited about this trip to Italia. I just wish I knew more Italian words before I came.

Too bad Billy Bob couldn't come with me - he won't be able to experience la dolce vita (the sweet life). "BYE - BYE."

-- Candy (Candice)



The Italian article il or la or lo or l’ that usually precedes each noun (e.g. il bar) is included here with some of these English words in Italian spelled exactly like English to make it clear that these are indeed Italian words as well as English words.

Many English words in Italian are modern terms for new technological developments, when there are no existing words in Italian for these new developments.

In the following pronunciation guide, Italian words pronounced like English are enclosed in single quotation marks, e.g. bar -- [‘bar’]

To keep Italian pronunciation easiest, Italian words are shown to have a similar pronunciation to English if the stress is on the same syllable, and the letters are pronounced enough alike that Italian people will probably understand what you mean if you pronounce those words as you do in English. You may merely sound like you have an ‘English accent’ in Italian.

Later you can listen to how Italian people pronounce them, and try to mimic any small differences in pronunciation to make them sound more authentically Italian. For example, the letter –i- in Italian is always pronounced ‘-ee-’ [whereas in English it is often pronounced ‘-ih-’]

For another example, the letter –a- in Italian is always pronounced ‘-ah-’ as it also is in England [whereas elsewhere in some cases in English it is pronounced [-eh-’] or various other ways.



Some English words in Italian, especially if borrowed very recently or if they happened to coincide with Italian pronunciation patterns, retain their American or English pronunciations. This will be indicated by using single quotation marks, as follows:


AIDS -- aids -- [‘aids’]

audio -- audio -- [‘audio’]

auto -- auto -- [‘auto’]

bar (for alcohol) -- il bar -- [‘bar’]

barbecue -- il barbecue -- [‘barbecue’]

baseball -- il baseball -- [‘baseball’]

basketball -- il basketball -- [‘basketball’]

bikini -- il bikini -- [‘bikini’]

blues (music) -- il blues -- [‘blues’]

bookshop (bookstore) -- bookshop -- [‘bookshop’]

budget -- il budget -- [‘budget’]

brandy -- il brandy -- [‘brandy’]

briefing -- briefing -- [‘briefing’]

business -- business -- [‘business’]

casual (style) -- casual -- [‘casual’]

club -- il club -- [‘club’]

cocktail -- il cocktail -- [‘cocktail’]

computer -- il computer -- [‘computer’]

cool (style) -- cool -- [‘cool’]

cottage -- il cottage -- [‘cottage’]

cracker -- il cracker -- [‘cracker’]

diesel (fuel) -- il diesel -- [‘diesel’]

disco -- il disco -- [‘disco’]

fax -- il fax -- [‘fax’]

film -- il film -- [‘film’]

flirt (flirtation) -- flirt -- [‘flirt’]

freezer -- il freezer -- [‘freezer’]

gang -- la gang -- [‘gang’]

gas (heating) -- il gas -- [‘gas’]

gay (homosexual) -- gay -- [‘gay’]

gay bar -- un pub gay -- [‘pub gay’]

gel (hair) -- gel -- [‘gel’]

gentleman -- un gentleman -- [‘gentleman’]

gin -- il gin -- [‘gin’]

goal (soccer) -- un goal -- [‘goal’]

golf -- il golf -- [‘golf’]

hall -- hall -- [‘hall’]

handicap -- handicap -- [‘handicap’]

herpes -- herpes -- [‘herpes’]

Hey! -- Hey! -- [‘hey’]

hobby -- hobby -- [‘hobby’]

hockey (field) -- hockey -- [‘hockey’]

in (style) -- in -- [‘in’] {see ‘out’}

internet -- Internet -- [‘internet’]

joint [marijuana] -- un joint -- [‘joint’]

killer -- il killer -- [‘killer’]

jazz -- il jazz -- [‘jazz’]

jeans -- i jeans -- [‘jeans’]

jeep® -- la jeep® -- [‘jeep’]

jockey -- il jockey -- [‘jockey’]

kayak -- il kayak -- [‘kayak’]

ketchup -- il ketchup -- [‘ketchup’]

kidnapping -- il kidnapping -- [‘kidnapping’]

kosher -- kosher -- [‘kosher’]

lager -- lager -- [‘lager’]

link (computer) -- il link -- [‘link’]

location -- location -- [‘location’]

manager -- manager -- [‘manager’]

mission -- mission -- [‘mission’]

motel -- il motel -- [‘motel’]

nausea -- la nausea -- [‘nausea’]

nightclub -- il nightclub -- [‘nightclub’]

no -- no -- [‘no’]

OK -- OK -- [‘OK’]

online -- online -- [‘online’]

orchestra -- orchestra -- [‘orchestra’]

out (style) -- out -- [‘out’] {see ‘in’}

park (amusement) -- park -- [‘park’]

password (computer) -- la password -- [‘password’]

picnic -- picnic -- [‘picnic’]

pop (music) -- pop -- [‘pop’]

piercing (body) -- il piercing -- [‘piercing’]

pizzeria -- la pizzeria -- [‘pizzeria’]

premium (fuel) -- premium -- [‘premium’]

privacy -- privacy -- [‘privacy’]

pub (bar) -- un pub -- [‘pub’]

pullover -- pullover -- [‘pullover’]

puzzle -- il puzzle -- [‘puzzle’]

nylon -- nylon -- [‘nylon’]

quota -- la quota -- [‘quota’]

rap (music) -- il rap -- [‘rap’]

reception -- la reception -- [‘reception’]

rugby -- il rugby -- [‘rugby’]

rum -- il rum -- [‘rum’]

sandwich -- il sandwich -- [‘sandwich’]

sauna -- la sauna -- [‘sauna’]

scanner -- lo scanner -- [‘scanner’]

scotch -- lo scotch -- [‘scotch’]

sexy -- sexy -- [‘sexy’]

shampoo -- shampoo -- [‘shampoo’]

shopping -- lo shopping -- [‘shopping’]

shorts -- gli shorts -- [‘shorts’]

single (unmarried) -- single -- [‘single’]

slogan -- lo slogan -- [‘slogan’]

snowboard -- lo snowboard -- [‘snowboard’]

soap (opera) -- soap -- [‘soap’]

solo -- il solo -- [‘solo’]

spinning (exercise) -- spinning -- [‘spinning’]

sport(s) -- sport -- [‘sport’]

starter (vehicle) -- lo starter -- [‘starter’]

stop (sign / light) -- lo stop -- [‘stop’]

stress -- lo stress -- [‘stress’]

super (fuel) -- super -- [‘super’]

surfer -- súrfer -- [‘surfer’]

taxi -- il taxi -- [‘taxi’]

terminal -- il terminal -- [‘terminal’]

toast -- il toast -- [‘toast’]

top (girl’s shirt) -- un top -- [‘top’]

T-shirt -- la T(ee)-shirt -- [‘T-shirt’]

vagina -- la vagina -- [‘vagina’]

web (internet) -- il web -- [‘web’]

webcam -- webcam -- [‘webcam’]

weekend -- il week-end -- [‘weekend’]

welfare -- welfare -- [‘welfare’]

whisky -- il whisky -- [‘whisky’]

wireless (internet) -- wireless -- [‘wireless’]

yacht -- il yacht -- [‘yacht’]

yoga -- il yoga -- [‘yoga’]

yogurt -- lo yogurt -- [‘yogurt’]



Some English words adopted into Italian, especially the words borrowed a while ago, have had their English pronunciations altered somewhat to conform to the Italian patterns of pronunciation.


babysitter -- la babysitter -- [bah-bee-SEE-tehr]

CD -- il CD -- [chee-DEE]

DVD -- il DVD -- [dee-voo-DEE]

hamburger -- hamburger -- [ahm-BOOR-gehr]

hangar -- hangar -- [AHN-gahr]

herpes -- herpes -- [EHR-pehs]

hurrah -- urra -- [OOR-rah]

management -- management -- [mah-NAHDJ-mehnt]

muffin -- il muffin -- [MAHF-feen]

sardine -- le sardine -- [sahr-DEE-neh]

TV -- la TV -- [tee-VOO]

zoo -- lo zoo -- [dzooh]




bye-bye -- bye-bye -- [‘bye-bye’]

CD-Rom -- CD-Rom -- [chee-dee--ROM]

check-in -- il check-in -- [‘check-in’]

duty-free -- duty-free -- [‘duty-free’]

e-mail -- e-mail -- [‘e-mail’]

eyeliner -- eye-liner -- [‘eyeliner’]

fast-food -- il fast food -- [‘fast-food’]

full-time -- full-time -- [‘full-time’]

hi-fi -- hi-fi -- [‘hi-fi’]

high-tech -- high-tech -- [‘high-tech’]

know-how -- know-how -- [‘know-how’]

mini-bar -- il minibar -- [‘minibar’]

part-time -- part-time -- [‘part-time’]

self-service -- il self-service -- [‘self-service’]

snack-bar -- lo snack-bar -- [‘snack-bar’]

Wi-Fi -- Wi-Fi -- [‘Wi-Fi’]


body building -- body building -- [‘body building’]

boy scout -- il boy scout -- [‘boy scout’]

compact disk -- compact disc -- [kohm-PAHT deesk]

extra large -- extra large -- [‘extra large’]

hot dog -- un hot dog -- [oht dohg]

instant messenger -- instant messenger -- [‘instant messenger’]

lift pass -- il lift pass -- [‘lift pass’]

log off (internet) - logoff -- [‘log off’]

log on (internet) - logon -- [‘log on’]

mountain bike -- la mountain bike -- [‘mountain bike’]

no camping -- no camping -- [‘no camping’]

reality show -- il reality show -- [‘reality show’]

roast beef -- roast beef -- [‘roast beef’]

ski lift -- lo ski lift -- [‘ski lift’]

snack bar -- lo snack bar -- [‘snack bar’]

station wagon -- la station wagon -- [‘station wagon’]

traveler’s check -- traveler’s check -- [‘traveler’s check’]

air hostess (Br) -- hostess -- [‘hostess’]



In Italian, some English words are used in unfamiliar ways.

Other English-based words in Italian resemble English -- but are not English words.

These Italian words based on English differ in form or meaning from English.

A word may be borrowed from English, but the meaning changed in Italian.

Some new Italian words are created from Anglo-Saxon roots—e.g., ‘flirtare’ -- " (to flirt).

Others are based on English words used in new ways (e.g. "footing" meaning jogging).

For those Italian people who do not speak English, such words may be believed to exist in English.

Other Italian people with little or no knowledge of English may mistakenly think they’re using English words properly -- but in some cases they’re not.

This caused someone to ask: “If the Italian want to borrow English words, why can’t they get them right?”



announcer (newsreader) -- speaker TV -- [‘speaker’ tee-VOO]

basketball -- il basket -- [‘basket’]

bisexual -- bisex -- [‘bisex’]

boxing -- la box -- [‘box’]

bus (city) -- autobus -- [OW-toh-boos]

cafeteria -- self-service -- [“self-service”]

campsite -- camping -- [‘camping’]

cardigan -- golf -- [‘golf’]

cell phone -- telephonino -- [teh-leh-foh-NEE-noh]

chat (v) -- chattare -- [chaht-TAH-reh]

chemical toilet -- il water -- [VAH-tehr]

cowboy -- western -- [‘western’]

dance club -- disco pub -- [‘disco pub’]

dinner jacket (Br) -- smoking -- [‘smoking’]

e-mail -- le mail -- [‘mail’]

flirt (v) -- flirtare -- [flir-TAH-reh]

gay bar -- un pub gay -- [‘pub gay’]

handicapped -- handicappato/a -- [ahn-dee-kahp-PAH-toh/tah]

high speed train -- inter-city -- [‘inter-city’]

hitchhiking -- autostop -- [ow-tos-TOHP]

jogging -- footing -- [‘footing’]

joker (cards) -- jolly -- [‘jolly’]

kitesurfing -- il kite-surf -- [‘kitesurf’]

moped -- lo scooter -- [‘scooter’]

parka -- eskimo -- [‘eskimo’]

playpen -- box -- [bohks]

Playstation® -- play -- [‘play’]

push-up bra -- un push-up -- [‘push-up’]

roadside cafe -- autogrill -- [ow-toh-GREEL]

scotch tape -- scotch -- [‘scotch’]

scroll (v computer) -- scrollare -- [skrohl-LAH-reh]

snob -- snobismi -- [snoh-BEES-mee]

snobbery -- snobismo -- [snoh-BEES-moh]

snowboarding -- lo snowboard -- [‘snowboard’]

surfing -- il surf -- [‘surf’]

television commercial -- spot -- [‘spot’]

travelers check (cheque) -- un travel cheque -- [‘travel cheque’]

tuxedo (US) -- smoking -- [‘smoking’]

windsurfer (board) -- un windsurf -- [WEEND-soorf]

windsurfing -- il windsurf -- [WEEND-soorf]



In the following story, the WORDS IN CAPITAL LETTERS are English words used in Italian.


I like sports.

Mi piace lo SPORT.


At the baseball game I always get a hamburger.

Alla partita di BASEBALL mi prendo sempre un HAMBURGER.


At the tennis game I eat a hot-dog.

Alla partita di TENNIS mi mangio un HOT-DOG.


Then I drink a coca-cola or seven-up.

Poi mi bevo una COCA-COLA o SEVEN-UP.


This is why I sit close to the water-closet (toilet).

Per questo mi siedo vicino il WATER-CLOSET.


I take with me my compact disc.

Mi porto con me il mio COMPACT DISC.


During the pauses in the action I listen to a little jazz or blues.

Durante le pause mi ascolto un po`di JAZZ o BLUES.


Sports are O.K.!

Lo SPORT e` O.K.!


Article about English Words in Italy.

Article about English Words in Italian.


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