italian-adjectives

125 Italian Adjectives

Figuring out adjectives is key to learning any language, and Italian is bursting with words to describe anything you can think of.

Adjectives in Italian do not work in quite the same way as they do in English. Knowing the differences is an important part of working towards fluency.

This post will be your guide to understanding the most important things to know about Italian adjectives. It will make your sentences impressive, exciting, cool and maybe even magical. (See what we did there?)

Contents

How to Use Italian Adjectives

Adjective Placement

One of the biggest differences between English and Italian is the placement of adjectives in a sentence.

Unlike English (but like most other Romance languages), Italian usually puts the adjective after the noun it is describing.

For example, a “pink apple” in English becomes a mela rosa (apple pink) in Italian. Here are some other examples:

The green plant — La pianta verde

A smart man — Un uomo inteligente

A skinny cat — Un gatto magro

The funny joke — Lo scherzo divertente

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are some cases where adjectives go before nouns in Italian, though it is not nearly as common.

Usually, putting an adjective before a noun puts less emphasis on that descriptor.

Sometimes, a noun might even have an adjective before and after it to provide two kinds of description. Remember that the adjective that comes after the noun is the one with more emphasis on it.

In some cases, the position of an adjective in a sentence changes the meaning of the phrase. Adjectives placed before the noun tend to focus on the quality of something while an adjective placed after usually emphasizes a more literal, physical description.

There is a common example you might have heard where the adjective goes before the noun:

A beautiful woman — Una bella donna

Here are some examples of how the meaning of a sentence can change depending on where you place the adjective:

A great book — Un grande libro
A big book — Un libro grande

An old friend — Un vecchio amico
An old friend (age) — Un amico vecchio 

A new car (new to me) — Una nuova machina 
A new car (fresh off the lot, no miles, brand spanking new) — Una macchina nuova

Want to hear the difference for yourself? Head over to FluentU for some fun and engaging listening practice.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

Listen closely to the use of adjectives to get the hang of the difference placement makes. You can even use video flashcards to make your own word lists and to hear adjectives used in various contexts.

It’s important to note that some adjectives are irregular when they go before a noun, changing their form. We will discuss this later in the post. 

Italian Adjectives and Gender

Italian shares another trait with a lot of Romance languages: nouns have genders.

This might seem like a complicated concept for English speakers. The basic idea is that there are masculine nouns and feminine nouns, and these determine the endings of certain words—including adjectives.

Masculine nouns usually end in -o or -e and use the articles il / lo (the) or un (a), with l’ being used for words that start with vowels.

When they are changed from singular to plural, masculine nouns end in an -i. These use plural articles such as gli (for words beginning with vowels, z and s+consonants) and i (for all other consonants).

Here are some examples of masculine nouns:

the man / men — l’uomo / gli uomini

the sock/s — il calzino / i calzini

the boot/s — lo stivale / gli stivali

Feminine nouns usually end in -a, and use the articles la (the) or una (a).

When a feminine word is pluralized, the -a turns into an -e and uses the article le. Words beginning with vowels will still use l’ as their article. 

Here are some examples of feminine nouns:

the woman / women — la donna / le donne

the bag/s — la borsa / le borse

the shoe/s — la scarpa / le scarpe

It might seem strange to study nouns when you are learning about adjectives, but it is very important.

Adjectives in Italian must agree with the gender of the noun they are modifying. This means that adjectives change their form based on whether the word they are describing is masculine or feminine.

Here is a set of adjectives being used to describe masculine nouns:

The tired man — L’uomo stanco

The new socks — I nuovi calzini

The yellow boot — Lo stivale giallo

Note that all of the adjectives used here have endings that agree with the endings of their nouns, consisting of -i and -o when applicable.

Here are those same adjectives applied to our feminine nouns:

The tired woman — La donna stanca

The new bag — La nuova borsa

The yellow shoes — Le scarpe gialle

Notice that these endings change to -a or -e depending on whether the noun is singular or plural.

With some practice, you will catch on in no time!

Irregular Italian Adjectives

Some adjectives change their form when they go before a noun, making them irregular adjectives. This only occurs for four specific adjectives: grande (big), buono (good / well), santo (holy) and bello (handsome / beautiful). 

Like regular adjectives, these irregular four change based on the noun they describe, using four forms: plural / singular masculine and plural / singular feminine.

In addition to these forms, an irregular adjective’s form also depends on whether the noun it modifies starts with a vowel or a consonant.

In addition, irregular adjectives take different articles than most adjectives: dei for masculine and delle for feminine.

It makes a lot more sense if you simply see it in action. Let’s take a look at the word buono:

Masculine Singular:
A good dog — Un buon cane

Masculine Plural:
good dogs — Dei buoni cani

Masculine Singular (with s+consonant or z):
A good boot — Un buon stivale

Masculine Plural (with s+consonant or z):
Some good boots — Dei buoni stivali

Feminine Singular:
A good apple — Una buona mela

Feminine Plural:
Some good apples — Delle buone mele (some good apples)

While the rest of the adjectives mostly follow these patterns, you can find specific charts outlining the exact conjugation of irregular adjectives.

Since there are so few of these irregular adjectives, they are relatively easy to study. Make sure that you know them all well!

Predictive and Attributive Italian Adjectives

There are two types of adjectives in Italian: predictive and attributive. 

Figuring out the difference is simple.

Predictive adjectives use the verb essere (to be) to describe a noun:

The bag is blueLa borsa è blu

Attributive adjectives are directly attached to the noun they are describing, such as with many of the earlier examples. Here is one again so you can see how this looks:

A pink apple — Una mela rosa

This is all a matter of placement, so the forms are simple to identify. To make sure you have your predictive adjectives down right, practice the conjugation of essere. 

125 Useful Italian Adjectives to Know

Now that you know the basics of how Italian adjectives work, here is a list of 125 Italian adjectives that you can use to describe things in Italian!

1. abbronzato — tanned

Quest’estate sono andata al mare tutti i giorni e adesso sono abbronzato.
(This summer I went to the beach every day and now I am tanned.)

2. abituato — accustomed, used to

Non è abituata ad andare a letto così presto.
(She is not accustomed to going to bed so early.)

3. accattivante — captivating

Quell’attrice è famosa per il suo sorriso accattivante.
(That actress is famous for her captivating smile.)

4. adorabile — adorable

Tua figlia con quel vestito rosa è adorabile.
(Your daughter is adorable in that pink dress.)

5. affamato — hungry

Uno squalo affamato è pericoloso.
(A hungry shark is dangerous.)

6. allegro — cheerful

Alana è sempre allegra, ma suo marito è sempre scontroso.
(Alana is always cheerful, but her husband is always grumpy.)

7. alto — tall

Donovan ha solo dieci anni, ma è alto come suo padre.
(Donovan is only ten years old, but he is as tall as his father.)

8. amichevole — friendly

I Golden Retriever sono molto amichevoli.
(Golden Retrievers are very friendly.)

9. antipatico — unpleasant

Oscar the Grouch è il personaggio più antipatico in “Sesame Street.”
(Oscar the Grouch is the most unpleasant character on “Sesame Street.”)

10. arrogante — arrogant

Le persone arroganti non piacciono a nessuno.
(No one likes arrogant people.)

11. artigianale — artisanal

Mi piacciono molto i gioielli artigianali.
(I really like artisanal jewelry.)

12. barbuto — bearded

Mio marito è l’uomo barbuto nell’angolo.
(My husband is the bearded man in the corner.)

13. basso — short

Molte persone credono che Napoleone Bonaparte fosse il francese più basso della storia.
(Many people believe that Napoleon Bonaparte was the shortest Frenchman in history.)

14. bello — beautiful

Ieri ha comprato un bel vestito per il matrimonio.
(Yesterday she bought a beautiful dress for the wedding.)

15. benevolo — benevolent

Il re benevolo ha fatto molto per il suo regno.
(The benevolent king did a lot for his kingdom.)

16. bianco — white

La macchina bianca è la mia.
(The white car is mine.)

17. biondo — blond

La donna ha i capelli biondi e gli occhi azzurri.
(The woman has blond hair and blue eyes.)

18. bravo — good

Sei molto bravo a cucinare!
(You are very good at cooking!)

19. brutto — ugly

Possiamo leggere la storia del brutto anatroccolo?
(Can we read the story of the ugly duckling?)

20. buono — good

Una buona granita è difficile da trovare in America.
(A good granita is hard to find in America.)

21. caldo — hot

Durante l’estate, le giornate calde sembrano non finire mai.
(During the summer, the hot days seem to never end.)

22. calvo — bald

L’uccello nazionale degli Stati Uniti è l’aquila calva.
(The national bird of the United States is the bald eagle.)

23. caotico — chaotic

Non posso sentirti, è troppo caotico qui.
(I can’t hear you, it is too chaotic here.)

24. capriccioso — capricious

Giorgio è un bambino capriccioso.
(Giorgio is a capricious child.)

25. carico — loaded, charged

Sono carico di lavoro.
(I am overloaded with work.)

26. carino — cute, nice

È stato molto carino ad aiutarmi con il trasloco.
(He was very nice to help me with the move.)

27. cattivo — bad

Sei una strega buona o cattiva?
(Are you a good witch or a bad witch?)

28. chiuso — closed

Possiamo considerare il caso chiuso.
(We can consider the case closed.)

29. combattivo — combative

Non so perché sei sempre così combattivo, siamo amici!
(I don’t know why you are always so combative, we are friends!)

30. creativo — creative

Uno scrittore creativo non ha problemi a scrivere su qualsiasi argomento.
(A creative writer has no problem writing on any topic.)

31. delizioso — delicious

Il salmone che ho mangiato stasera era delizioso.
(The salmon I ate tonight was delicious.)

32. depresso — depressed

È possibile che un gatto sia depresso?
(Is it possible for a cat to be depressed?)

33. deserto — deserted

La Sicilia è piena di spiagge deserte da esplorare.
(Sicily is full of deserted beaches to explore.)

34. discreto — decent, discreet

È una persona discreta: non racconta mai i segreti altrui.
(She is a discreet person: she never tell the secrets of others.)

35. disordinato — messy

Ogni mattina, quando si sveglia, ha i capelli disordinati.
(Every morning, when she wakes up, she has messy hair.)

36. disponibile — available

Questo articolo non è disponibile.
(This item is not available.)

37. divertente — fun, funny

Mi piacciono i film di Bud Spencer e Terence Hill perché sono divertenti.
(I like films with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill because they are funny.)

38. dolce — sweet

Non amo i dessert molto dolci.
(I don’t love sweet desserts.)

39. educato — polite

La bambina era molto educata con i suoi insegnanti.
(The little girl was very polite with her teachers.)

40. enorme — enormous

Hai visto quell’albero enorme nel parco?
(Did you see that enormous tree in the park?)

41. eroico — heroic

Superman è il personaggio più eroico dei fumetti.
(Superman is the most heroic character in comics.)

42. facile — easy

Imparare una nuova lingua non è facile.
(Learning a new language is not easy.)

43. famoso — famous

Gli attori molto famosi, di solito, non sono molto gentili.
(Usually, the very famous actors are not very nice.)

44. fedele — faithful

Un cavaliere è sempre fedele al suo re.
(A knight is always faithful to his king.)

45. fenomenale — phenomenal

Le stelle cadenti sono uno spettacolo fenomenale.
(Shooting stars are a phenomenal sight.)

46. fiducioso — trusting, sure

È sempre molto fiducioso delle sue capacità.
(He is always sure of his abilities.)

47. freddo — cold

Le tue mani sono fredde come il ghiaccio.
(Your hands are cold like ice.)

48. furbo — sly, clever

Il cane furbo trova sempre un modo per ricevere un biscotto.
(The clever dog always finds a way to get a cookie.)

49. geloso — jealous

Non le piacciono gli uomini gelosi.
(She doesn’t like jealous men.)

50. generoso — generous

Grazie per il regalo, sei troppo generoso!
(Thank you for the gift, you are too generous!)

51. gentile — kind

Il suo nuovo fidanzato è molto gentile con lei.
(Her new boyfriend is very kind to her.)

52. gioioso — joyous

Il Natale è sempre un’occasione gioiosa.
(Christmas is always a joyous occasion.)

53. giovane — young

Sei ancora troppo giovane per soffrire di mal di schiena.
(You’re too young to suffer from backaches yet.)

54. gradevole — pleasant

Quel fiore ha un profumo molto gradevole.
(That flower has a very pleasant scent.)

55. grande — big

Volete una casa grande in campagna?
(Do you guys want a big house in the countryside?)

56. grasso — fat

Il mio gatto è grasso e deve dimagrire.
(My cat is fat and has to lose weight.)

57. grave — serious

Dopo l’incidente, le sue condizioni erano gravi.
(After the accident, his condition was serious.)

58. grosso — large

Il procione ha mangiato tutte le ciambelle e adesso ha lo stomaco grosso.
(The raccoon ate all the doughnuts and now he has a large stomach.)

59. ideale — ideal

La situazione non è ideale, ma possiamo gestirla.
(The situation isn’t ideal, but we can handle it.)

60. ignorante — ignorant

Quando parli così sembri una persona ignorante.
(When you talk that way, you seem like an ignorant person.)

61. illegale — illegal

È illegale guidare senza patente.
(It is illegal to drive without a license.)

62. imbarazzante — embarrassing

Spero che non abbia visto quella foto imbarazzante!
(I hope he didn’t see that embarrassing photo!)

63. impulsivo — impulsive

I bambini sono sempre impulsivi.
(Kids are always impulsive.)

64. intelligente — intelligent

Einstein era un uomo molto intelligente.
(Einstein was a very intelligent man.)

65. invidioso — envious

Sei solo invidioso perchè ho più soldi di te.
(You’re just envious because I have more money than you.)

66. leale — loyal

Non esiste un amico più leale di un cane.
(There is no more loyal friend than a dog.)

67. lento — slow

Questo libro è noioso perchè ha una trama molto lenta.
(This book is boring because it has a very slow plot.)

68. letale — lethal

Alcuni serpenti hanno un veleno letale.
(Some snakes have lethal venom.)

69. libero — free

Sei libero di andartene quando vuoi.
(You are free to leave whenever you want.)

70. lieto — pleased

Sono lieto di vederti qui.
(I am pleased to see you here.)

71. loquace — loquacious

L’insegnante loquace ha parlato per due ore.
(The loquacious teacher talked for two hours.)

72. lungo — long

Sono in ritardo perchè ho avuto una lunga riunione oggi.
(I’m late because I had a long meeting today.)

73. lussuoso — luxurious

La prima classe in aereo è così lussuosa che non potrò mai tornare in classe economica!
(First class on a plane is so luxurious that I can never go back to economy class!)

74. magro — thin

Lei è molto magra, la sua dieta ha funzionato!
(She is very thin, her diet worked!)

75. malato — sick

Non mi sento molto bene, forse sono malato.
(I don’t feel very well, maybe I am sick.)

76. maleducato — rude

Non ho mai visto bambini così maleducati!
(I have never seen such rude children!)

77. malizioso — malicious

La ladra aveva un sorriso malizioso quando ha rubato il vaso.
(The thief had a malicious smile when she stole the vase.)

78. matto — crazy

Solo le persone matte guidano così veloce.
(Only crazy people drive so fast.)

79. migliore — better

Pensa di essere migliore di tutti.
(He thinks he is better than everyone.)

80. miserabile — miserable

Sono miserabile senza di te.
(I am miserable without you.)

81. naturale — natural

Preferisce curarsi solo con rimedi naturali.
(She prefers to treat herself with only natural remedies.)

82. nero — black

I gatti neri non portano davvero sfortuna.
(Black cats don’t really bring bad luck.)

83. noioso — boring

Questo corso mi piacerebbe di più se non fosse così noioso.
(I would like this course better if it weren’t so boring.)

84. ordinato — ordered, tidy, organized

Non ho mai visto una scrivania così ordinata!
(I have never seen a desk so organized!)

85. orgoglioso — proud

Mio padre era orgoglioso quando mi sono laureato.
(My father was proud when I graduated.)

86. paranoico — paranoid

Sono paranoica quando sono a casa da sola e sento un rumore strano.
(I feel paranoid when I am at home alone and hear a strange sound.)

87. pauroso — fearful

I bambini non devono guardare film paurosi prima di andare a letto.
(The kids shouldn’t watch scary movies before going to bed.)

88. paziente — patient

Non è un uomo paziente, vuole sempre tutto subito.
(He is not a patient man, he always wants everything right now.)

89. pazzesco — crazy

Guida ad una velocità pazzesca.
(He drives at a crazy speed.)

90. pericoloso — dangerous

Puoi mangiare alcuni tipi di funghi, ma altri sono pericolosi.
(You can eat some kinds of mushrooms, but others are dangerous.)

91. perso — lost

L’ufficio oggetti smarriti è pieno di telefoni persi.
(The lost and found office is always full of lost phones.)

92. pesante — heavy

Attenta, quella è una scatola pesante.
(Be careful, that is a heavy box.)

93. piatto — flat

Gli antichi greci hanno scoperto che non viviamo su un pianeta piatto.
(The ancient Greeks discovered that we don’t live on a flat planet.)

94. piccante — spicy

Molte persone dicono che il cibo indiano è davero piccante.
(Many people say that Indian food is really spicy.)

95. piccolo — small

Vuole un animale piccolo, come un coniglio.
(She wants a small animal, like a rabbit.)

96. pieno — full

Non posso mangiare di più, sono pieno.
(I can’t eat any more, I’m full.)

97. pigro — lazy

Mio fratello non pulisce mai la sua camera da letto perché è un ragazzo pigro.
(My brother never cleans his bedroom because he is a lazy boy.)

98. popolare — popular

Le cheerleader sono sempre popolari al liceo.
(Cheerleaders are always popular in high school.)

99. positivo — positive

È meglio essere positivo che pensare sempre al peggio.
(It is better to be positive than to always think the worst.)

100. povero — poor

Povero cane, non può trovare il suo osso!
(Poor dog, he can’t find his bone!)

101. presuntuoso — presumptuous

La donna presuntuosa pensa di avere sempre ragione.
(The presumptuous woman always thinks she is right.)

102. rapido — fast, rapid, swift

Con la modalità rapida, la lavastoviglie finirà prima di andare a letto.
(With the rapid mode, the dishwasher will finish before we go to bed.)

103. raro — rare

Lui vende libri rari.
(He sells rare books.)

104. realistico — realistic

Lui ha una visione realistica della vita.
(He has a realistic view of life.)

105. regolare — regular

Con un routine di allenamento regolare, puoi tornare in forma velocemente.
(With a regular workout routine, you can get back in shape quickly.)

106. ricco — rich

Lei è diventata ricca vincendo alla lotteria.
(She became rich by winning the lottery.)

107. sano — healthy

La mela è un frutto molto sano.
(The apple is a very healthy fruit.)

108. scarso — scarce

L’acqua è molto scarsa nel deserto.
(Water is very scarce in the desert.)

109. sconfitto — defeated

Dopo una lunga guerra, il nemico fu sconfitto.
(After a long war, the enemy was defeated.)

110. segreto — secret

La chiave segreta è sotto una roccia.
(The secret key is under a rock.)

111. seguente — next

La settimana seguente mia zia sarà in Australia.
(The next week my aunt will be in Australia.)

112. sensibile — sensitive

La spia conosceva molte informazioni sensibili.
(The spy knew a lot of sensitive information.)

113. stretto — narrow

La strada è stretta, guida con attenzione.
(The street is narrow, drive carefully.)

114. stupido — stupid

Non esiste una domanda stupida nella mia aula.
(There is no such thing as a stupid question in my classroom.)

115. tenace — tenacious

Dopo un’ora, lo scoiattolo tenace ha trovato la sua noce.
(After an hour, the tenacious squirrel found his nut.)

116. timido — shy, timid

La bambina timida non parla spesso.
(The shy girl doesn’t talk very often.)

117. tollerante — tolerant

I miei genitori non sono tolleranti quando si tratta di brutti voti.
(My parents aren’t tolerant when it comes to bad grades.)

118. tranquillo — calm, quiet

Stai tranquillo, c’è ancora tempo per prendere il treno.
(Stay calm, there is still time to catch the train.)

119. triste — sad

Anche i libri tristi sono belli.
(Even sad books are beautiful.)

120. vecchio — old

La mia macchina è troppo vecchia, non funziona di più.
(My car is too old, it doesn’t work anymore.)

121. veloce — fast

Il Frecciarossa è un treno molto veloce.
(The Frecciarossa is a very fast train.)

122. vivace — lively

Pur avendo ottant’anni, è ancora molto vivace.
(For being eighty years old, he is still very lively.)

123. vivo — alive

Quel scarafaggio è ancora vivo?
(Is that cockroach still alive?)

124. viziato — spoiled

La principessa viziata non era contenta del cibo di McDonald’s.
(The spoiled princess wasn’t happy with the McDonald’s food.)

125. volgare — vulgar

Non usare quel linguaggio volgare davanti alla tua sorellina!
(Don’t use that vulgar language in front of your little sister!)

 

There are hundreds more Italian adjectives out there to spice up your speaking and writing, but now you know 125 more! Knowing these adjectives (and how to use them) will help you fill your Italian sentences with much more detail!

And One More Thing...

If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!

Learn Italian with funny commericals, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:

learn-italian-with-videos

FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.

learn-italian-with-captioned-videos

Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.

learn-conversational-italian-with-subtitled-dialogue

Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

practice-italian-with-adaptive-quizzes

FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words. Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!

The best part? You can try FluentU for free with a trial.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close