Don't be confused by the spelling: say giusto aloud ("ju-sto") and you'll hear it sounds a lot like its English equivalent – 'just'.
The similarities don't end there. Giusto serves many of the same functions as 'just', whether it's to say that something 'just' happened in the very recent past...
È partita giusto un attimo fa.
She just left a second ago.
... to say it's 'just right' or 'perfect'...
Sei arrivato al momento giusto.
You came at just the right time.
Il cappello ti sta proprio giusto.
That hat is perfect on you.
... or to say it's 'just' – 'legitimate' or 'fair'.
È un giudice severo ma giusto.
The judge is harsh but just.
Non è giusto! Vince sempre lei.
It's not fair! She always wins.
'A Just Cause': the Italian title for the Ruth Bader Ginsberg film 'On the Basis of Sex'.
But there's more to giusto than 'just' a straight translation.
Italian speakers also use it to say that something is not necessarily perfect, just 'correct'. As you'll see below, you can use giusto both as an adjective ('correct') and an adverb ('correctly').
La risposta che hai dato è giusta.
The answer you gave is correct.
Hai risposto giusto.
You answered correctly.
And giusto can also mean 'precise' or 'exact', if you're talking about a certain level of accuracy.
Dimmi l'ora giusta.
Tell me the exact time.
But where giusto comes in most handy is as an affirmation: when you want to agree with what someone has said or show they've understood correctly, you can simply exclaim "Giusto!"
– Sei americana?
– Are you American?
– That's right!
Likewise, you can use it to check you've got something right by asking "Giusto?" at the end of your statement.
Sei americana, giusto?
You're American, right?
You might also say giusto when you've just remembered something you wanted to talk about: a bit like 'Ah yes!' or 'That reminds me!'
Giusto! Volevo chiederti un piacere.
That reminds me! I wanted to ask you a favour.
There's one last way you might hear giusto used: in Italian slang, it means 'cool' or 'great'.
È un tipo troppo giusto.
He's such a great guy.
So many uses for one little word, right? That's why it's so often la parola giusta – 'just the right word'.
Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email our editor Jessica Phelan with your suggestion.