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Word of the Day: Bowl

As I was eating my cacio e pepe pasta out of a parmigiano bowl yesterday for lunch, I realized that I didn’t know how to say ‘bowl‘ in Italian. It’s not the first time I wondered what the word is for bowl, but this time I made a mental note to look it up. Surprisingly enough, there are a few words one can use:

Piatto fondo: yesterday, my Italian lunch mate threw out piatto fondo as the translation of bowl. Obviously this didn’t sit well with me, since it just means, a deep plate. Womp womp womp. Way to just describe what a bowl is, but not actually have a word for it, Italian language! Well that’s what I thought yesterday at least…

Scodella: (noun, f) Hellooooo bowl! Etymology: coming from scutra which in turn comes from the Greek, chytra, meaning an earthen vessel. Specifically, it means a deep round dish, or a basin.

Ciotola: (noun, f) This word specifically means a large cup/mug without a handle- so a bowl. The etymology is a bit confusing, but from what I understand it comes from the Greek, kotyle, or from the Latin, cotyla. Both meaning a large and deep cup/mug used specifically for measuring medicinal herbs and what not.

Insalatiera: (noun, f) It’s a salad bowl! Obviously coming from the Italian word for salad, insalata, it’s a vessel that is used for holding salad.

Zuppiera: (noun, f) It’s a soup bowl, or a soup tureen! Obviously coming from the Italian word for soup, zuppa, it’s a vessel that is used for holding soup. (As if in Rome you would ever eat soup… boo! to no soup in Roman cuisine.. but nonetheless, that’s the word.)

Examples:
‘Ho mangiato una ciotola di gelato per cena.’ – I ate a bowl of ice cream for dinner.
‘Il mio coinquilino ha rotto la mia insalatiera!’ – My roommate broke my salad bowl!
‘Mi passi un piatto fondo per il guacamole?’ – Would you pass me a deep dish for the guacamole?
‘Ho sempre una scodella di caramelle vicino la porta.’ – I always have a bowl full of candies near the door.
‘Ho una bella zuppiera sulla mia lista di nozze.’ – I have a beautiful soup tureen on my wedding registry.

PS– is it a coincidence that every word for ‘bowl’ in Italian is feminine? Discuss.

 

5 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Bowl

  1. I totally agree that the word “bowl” doesn’t have the best translation in Italian. I grew up eating my breakfast in a cereal bowl and that’s just not a tradition around Italy. In fact, when I’m speaking Italian, I usually just say, “Mi dai un bowl?” because “ciotola” doesn’t come to mind automatically.

  2. Hello, I hope you don’t mind if I post a few ‘corrections’. You cannot say you had a ciotola di gelato, you would say you had a “coppa” di gelato. A soup plate is just that, a plate for soup. Not pasta. Pasta is supposed to be eaten on a flat plate, as is a risotto. So una zuppa or a minestra are eaten in a ‘piatto fondo’ or in a scodella. And Rome does have a very famous soup and that is egg-drop soup called “stracciatella”. In general, soups in Italy are of a v. thick consistency. On the other hand, If you want to serve a bowl of clear soup (brodo ristretto), it is supposed to be served in a procelain cup that you drink out of. A guacamole, instead, could indeed be served in a ‘ciotola’ or ‘bolo’. Apart from you are talking about soup/minestra (i.e. scodella or piatto fondo), the word ‘ciotola’ or ‘ciotolina’ (if it is small) is the closest you’ll get to ‘bowl’.

    • Hey! Thanks for taking the time to reply to the post! When I was writing the examples I was pretty aware that none of those words are indeed used in any sort of regular basis (at least not in my 3 years of living in Rome, always with Italians). Hence the ridiculous examples… But thanks or straightening them out for me, just in case someone out there really wants to commit the words ‘ciotola’ or ‘scodella’ to memory. As for the Roman soup, I have never seen it on the menu but I sure am going to seek it out now, sounds pretty tasty. Thanks again for the comments, and if you ever want to contribute a Word of the Day, I’d be happy to see what you come up with!

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