Using foreign words - Italian

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,222 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭

Foreign words in English that you need to know.

English has taken words from almost every language that it has encountered. Here are some words that are originally Italian which you might read or hear on an exam:

A lot of Italians have migrated all over the world, and this includes English-speaking countries with large Italian populations such as the United States and Australia. Practically every city in the world has at least one pizzeria!


Al fresco - in the fresh air, or outside. Restaurants might have tables "al fresco", outside in the spring or summer.

Allegro - It means quickly in music, or can be used to say "speed it up a bit".

Andante - It means "at a walking pace", and is used in music to mean "moderate".

Barista - This refers to a bartender, and in English-speaking countries usually means the person who makes coffee.

Ghetto - This originally meant a part of a city where a minority lives (the Jewish ghetto) but today means a poor section of the city.

Inferno - This word comes from the poet Dante Alighieri, and means "hell", but it is also used for any horrible situation (especially hot).

Vendetta - To get revenge, or to feud with. This is often used in a violent context, talking about gangs or the mafia.


And of course, many, many familiar food words come directly from Italian.
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