Italian Word of the Week: Altrettanto

One of our goals with doing the Italian Word of the Week is to give you some colloquial words and phrases that you don’t often see in short, travel-inspired vocabulary guides. This week’s word is a perfect example:

ALTRETTANTO

(ahl-treht-TAHN-toh):

as much; as many; the same

This is one of those words that can be a little tricky to use in its most traditional sense, but at least now if you hear it, you’ll know what it means. Examples given by Word Reference include:

sei cucchiai e altrettante forchette – six spoons and as many forks

cerca di fare altrettanto – try and do the same

non altrettanto costoso – not quite as expensive

But there’s another usage I want to focus on because it’s *by far* the most common way I’ve heard altrettanto used — as a response to “Buon appetito!”

Yes, Italians wish you a good meal pretty much every time you’re sitting down to eat, or at least the Italians I know do. You can always say “buon appetito” right back, but if you really want to wow them, throw out:

“Grazie, altrettanto!”

Whoa.

You just made it look like you know way more Italian than you might know. And who doesn’t love that feeling?

Well, at least until the person responds in Italian at breakneck speed because they think you understand everything perfectly — then it gets a little awkward.

But still, use “altrettanto” next time an Italian wishes you a “buon appetito” or another similar phrase to which you’d respond “same to you!” and see if they’re not impressed. Besides, this is another word that is just too darn fun to say to let it go to waste.

Until next time!
Alla prossima!

* Image source: Buon appetito! by Eugene Peretz on Flickr (CC license)



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4 comments

  1. I just came across this site!Would you please add me to whatever e mails/blogs you put out?
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    Joe Zarba
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  2. Dallin Richardson

    I’m in the same boat as Joe Zarba v down there v. Can I get your posts and emails sent to me as well?

    drich014@gmail.com

    I’m preparing to live in Italy for 2 years and have only a basic understanding of this gorgeous language so far. Thanks! :)

    Dallin Richardson

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