Italian word of the day: ‘Avanzi’

All that stuff in your kitchen right now? Yeah, that's this.

Italian word of the day: 'Avanzi'
Photo: DepositPhotos

Today’s word is surely one you’ll relate to right now: gli avanzi are ‘leftovers’.

And because Italian Christmas dinners are too big for anyone to finish, we assume by now they’re all over your kitchen.

Stasera mangeremo gli avanzi della cena di ieri.
Tonight we’ll eat the leftovers from yesterday’s dinner.

The term comes from the verb avanzare (‘to advance’), and it refers to what’s left behind once everything else has gone. While gli avanzi (plural noun) are the leftovers themselves, you might also hear people use the adjective form to refer to il cibo avanzato (‘leftover food’).

The good news is that December 26th, Santo Stefano or St Stephen’s Day, is a public holiday in Italy – less for religious reasons than to give people an extra day to rest and digest, much like Boxing Day in the UK.

So peoople in Italy typically extend the Christmas celebrations, making the most of the time off to gather together and make a dent in all that unfinished food.

Meatballs, panettone sandwiches and fish tacos: a few of Pour Femme‘s ideas for how to recycle Christmas leftovers. 

So enjoy your Santo Stefano, get creative with your avanzi and above all, make sure you fit in a lie-down. Buon appetito! 

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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Italian word of the day: ‘Delusione’

We hope this word doesn't disappoint.

Italian word of the day: 'Delusione'

Experiencing a delusione (deh-loo-zee-OH-neh) in Italian may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you need escorting to the psychiatrist’s chair.

That’s because while delusione may look and sound like its English cousin ‘delusion’, the word actually means something quite different: disappointment.

Disappointment Disappointed GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Food Review GIFs

The two nouns actually have the same root in the Latin dēlūsiō, meaning a deceiving or deluding, and delūdō, meaning to deceive, dupe, or mock.

But while the English ‘delusion’ has hewn close to the original Latin meaning over the centuries, delusione at some point branched off to its current, quite different, definition.

There’s not much in the way of information about exactly when and how that happened, but it’s clearly a short associative hop from feeling ‘deceived’ or ‘duped’ by things turning out differently to what you’d expected to feeling ‘disappointed’.

Che delusione.
How disappointing.

La festa era, purtroppo, una grande delusione.
The party unfortunately was a big disappointment.

Mike Ehrmantraut Breaking Bad Che Delusione No Che Vergogna GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Oh No GIFs

The adjective for ‘disappointed’ is deluso for a single masculine subject, changing to delusa/delusi/deluse if the subject being described is feminine singular/masculine plural/feminine plural.

Era delusa da come era venuta la torta.
She was disappointed with how the cake turned out.

Devo dire che siamo davvero delusi dal fatto che siamo stati trattati in questo modo.
I have to say that we’re very disappointed to have been treated this way.

A word you’ll often see used in combination with deluso/a/i/e is rimanere (ree-man-EH-reh): rimanere deluso.

You might correctly recognise rimanere as meaning ‘to remain’, and wonder why we’d use that word here – but rimanere also has an alternative meaning along the lines of ‘to become’, ‘to get’, or simply ‘to be’.

For example, you can rimanere incinta (get pregnant), or rimanere ferito (get hurt or wounded, for example in a car accident).

It’s also very often used with emotions, usually those experienced in the moment rather than long-term ones: you can rimanere sorpreso (be surprised), rimanere triste (be sad), rimanere scioccato (be shocked)… and rimanere deluso (be disappointed).

Sono rimasto molto deluso quando mi ha detto di aver abbandonato la scuola.
I was very disappointed when she told me she had dropped out of school.

Siamo rimasti delusi dalle condizioni della stanza d’albergo al nostro arrivo.
We were disappointed by the condition of the hotel room when we arrived.

With that, we wish you a weekend free of delusioni (disappointments)!

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.