Today I was fed up and bored for a number of reasons, so I did one of those stupid things I assume most people do – but don’t admit: I typed “che palle!” on Google. Che palle is an Italian expression of sheer boredom. After clicking, a website came up explaining in details the meaning of the expression:

The expression “Che palle!” is one of the most vital and most used in the Italian language. Since it is important that you get this right, we are even going to give pronunciation pointers: “Kay PAWL-lay!”

It means, literally, “What balls!” These are balls, testicles, that are figuratively dragging on the ground from eccessive boredom or irritation. The slightly dated slang phrase “What a drag” is in fact a good approximation – if without character…

I thought it was a brilliant explanation. So I’ve decided – out of sheer boredom – to add more (avoiding some obvious ones like Vaffanculo and similar). I invite all my Italian friends to contribute. Never mind if your English isn’t good

“Che maroni!”: absolutely the same as “che palle” and referring to the same anatomical part of the male body. The only difference is that  the word “maroni” to describe testicles tends to be used mainly in the North. The fact that Maroni is also the surname of one of Berlusconi’s ministers is a pure coincidence. Or maybe not…

“Du cojoni…” Absolutely the same as “che maroni”. Coglione (or cojone in its Roman version) means, like palle and maroni, balls, testicles. “Mi hai fatto du cojoni cosi'” means “you made my balls this big.” If your girlfriend says this too often, you might want to reconsider proposing to her as she’s probably about to run away with the plumber. If your boyfriend says this, don’t assume he’ complimenting on your hand job technique…

“mmmmmmmmm”: This typical expression -or rather noise- isnt to be confused with the noise one makes when uncertain about or pondering something (“Hmm?) nor with the noise one makes when seeing tasty food (Hmm!!) No, this is the typical noise an Italian makes when deeply bored or annoyed by something another person says. Imagine a siren. It’s similar to that. It starts low and quiet and it progresses up in pitch only to go down again.  mmMMMMmmm. Massimo Troisi was great at this. Also Toto’. I’ve been looking for clips on youtube but I can’t find them. I invite all my italian readers to send me one if the have it, or to try a better way to explain such a noise. Basically, like the previous expressions, mmmmmmmmmmm also means “che palle”…

Uffa! More child-like, onomatopoeic expression of boredom, dissatisfaction, and disappointment. “Uffa, mamma, voglio la Nutella!”

I never realised we have so many ways to express boredom. Italians have very limited patience

Rompicoglioni” OR “spaccamaroni”: A person who’s bored you a lot, to the point of breaking your balls. Balls are a very recurrent item in Italian conversation. You can also say “rompicazzo”, which is more painful as it means somebody so annoying they’re able to break somebody’s penis. Which is notoriously worse than having just your balls broken.

Boh: Means “I’ve no idea and I’m not really bothered”. What is your opinion on the issue of cows farting too much in Australia? Boh… What do you fancy eating for lunch? Boh… What do you want to study at University? Boh…

Boh is an absolute favourite with teenagers and with boyfriends who just can’t be bothered. Damp the boyfriend and force the teenager to work in a mine for a week

Palla: fib, lie. Balls never leave us alone in Italy. Why we compare a lie with a testicle I dont know. “Pallista” means someone who lies a lot.

Coglione: There we go again. If somebody says you’re a “coglione” they’re basically saying you’re a dickhead, an idiot. In Milan we also say “pirla”.

Basta!: If an Italian person says “basta” to you and you happen to be British, dont punch them in the face. They’re not calling you a bastard, they’re just asking you to stop (because you’ve bored them sick, breaking their balls etc etc)

Dai!: Even in this case, if an Italian person says “Dai” to you (pronounced DIE), they’re not wishing you dead, so don’t hit them. They’re just saying “come on!” (because you’ve bored them sick, breaking their balls etc)

Once I was with my cousin in the US and she started saying “Basta, dai!” to her daughter and was almost arrested for child molesting as people thought she were insulting her kid and telling her to die…

attaccati!”: Means “sort yourself out, it’s your problem”. It’s actually shorter for “attaccati al tram”, which means something like jump on the moving tram. Dangerous

And to finish, a little “chicca” I found on youtube, because the best Italian expressions are the gestural ones. LOOK:

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I’ll finish here for tonight… Suggerimenti???


4 thoughts on “expressions

  1. “Rompicoglioni” OR “spaccamaroni”: A person who’s bored you a lot”
    Not so much bored but annoyed

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