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Italian expression of the day: ‘Da morire’

Italian expression of the day: 'Da morire'
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
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There’s a lot to like – to really, really like – about Italian life: the weather, the food, the culture, and of course the language. And as anyone who has lived here for any length of time will know, there are also quite a few things to pretty strongly dislike.

For better or worse, Italy is a place of contrasts and extremes. Life here is anything but dull. And you won’t find many people sitting politely on the fence or keeping their opinions to themselves, either.

Living in such a place requires plenty of superlative language; if you’re going to get worked up about things multiple times per day, you’ll find that a simple “mi piace” or “non mi piace” just doesn’t cut it.

Allow us to introduce you, then, to two little words that will instantly add drama to everything you say: 

Da morire

It’s what it sounds like, translating literally as “to death” and it can be used much as we would in English:

– Tua madre era preoccupata da morire.
– Your mother’s been worried to death.
 
– Questo lavoro è noioso da morire
– This job bores me to death

Note however that this Italian phrase uses the adjective noioso (boring), so the sentence would literally translate as “This job is boring to death”. So, since da morire is used as an adverb to modify the adjective, a better translation might be “this job is extremely boring”.

Other uses of da morire don’t translate as easily into English but are a lot of fun to use.

You can simply tack it on to other phrases to stress how strongly you feel. For example:

Gioco a calcio per vivere e mi piace da morire

– I play football for a living and I really like it/I love it

– Ti odio da morire

– I hate you so much

With verbs like these you can use it as an alternative to tantissimo, to mean “so much”.

And you can even say:

– Mi dispiace da morire

– I’m really terribly sorry

Da morire  also strengthens pretty much any adjective, positive or negative.

– È bella da morire

– She’s incredibly beautiful.

It can be used where in English we’d put an adverb such as really, extremely, terribly, incredibly, or unbelievably (although da morire should be added after the adjective.)

So now you’ll be able to use this phrase to quickly express a strong feeling or opinion in Italian.

Just try not to use it to death.

A few more Italian phrases you might find useful:

You can see our complete Word of the Day archive here

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


Member comments

  1. You state that “You can see our complete Word of the Day archive here”.
    However, there is Nothing Found in your Word of the Day archive.

  2. time to start doing articles on life in Italy again
    LESS Covid, more informative, fun articles

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