Word of the Day (la parola del giorno)

Word of the Day: A lot

Being the rich language it is, Italian has a lot of ways to say, well,  “a lot,” or “a ton,” “totally,” “piles of…” For me, the main ones that come to mind are: cifra, botto, bordello, mucchio, and sacco.

Cifra
Una cifra is used primarily in Rome. In regular Italian, a cifra is a cipher, a numerical figure/digit, or a code. Basically something to do with digits. So I can only assume it has come to mean ‘many’ or ‘a lot’ by its association with numbers.
Example
:
‘Aò bello! Ti sei divertito alla partita della Roma??’ – Aò bello! Did you have fun at the Roma game?
‘Sì! ‘na cifra!’ – Yea! Totally!

Botto
Un botto is used all over Italy, and literally means a knock, or a thud. Perhaps the suddenness or the shock you get from ‘a lot’ of something, is how the word came to be used in that sense.
Example
:
Un botto di Italiani indossano scarpe di Hogan.’ – A lot of Italians wear Hogans shoes.

Bordello
Un bordello in Italian is a brothel. How the word for brothel came to mean ‘ a lot,’ is beyond my own understanding. Maybe some of Young in Rome’s loyal readers can shine some light on this one…
Example
:
‘Ci sono un bordello di tursiti a Roma.’ – There are a ton of tourists in Rome.

Mucchio
This word takes me back to Italian 1, because it’s one of the few things I really remembering learning that semester, apart from learning that “Andrea” is a man’s name in Italy… A mucchio means a heap or pile.
Example
:
‘Non lavoro molto, pero guadagno un mucchio di soldi.’ – I don’t work much, but I earn a lot of money.

Sacco
Literally meaning a sack, or a bag, sacco is also used to talk about a lot of something. This one is pretty easy to get: a sack of something, a lot.
Example
:
‘Ti voglio un sacco di bene!’ – I like you a lot. (Best said in a Jim Carrey from Dumb and Dumber voice.)

One thought on “Word of the Day: A lot

  1. Maybe it’s a bit late, however “bordello” it’s related to “a lot” because usually on a brothel there are many people, so the word “bordello” is associated to a moltitude of people.
    It can be used with things also – example: “C’è un bordello di roba sul pavimento”.

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