“English” words that the English do not understand.

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Hello! Today we will look at some words that Italian people have borrowed from English, but which are used in a way that native English speakers would not easily understand. In bold is what you should say if want a native English speaker to understand you:

  • Basket – The sport is called basketball in English. We use a “basket” for picnics. If you say “Do you want to play basket?” We will understand “Do you want to play cestino?” You should say “Do you want to play basketball?”
  • Bar – The Italian “bar” is similar to an English “café“. For us a “bar” means a “pub” where coffee and tea are not served. If you say “Let’s go to the bar for breakfast”, I presume we will have beer and fish and chips.
  • Block-notes or Bloc-notes – In English we call it a notepad.
  • Body rental – Is a temporary staffing firm when referred to the company offering temporary staff, or temporary staff if referring to the person who is filling a temporary position.
  • Box – “Box” means “scatola” in English. A car is parked in a garage.
  • Box doccia shower cubicle.
  • Cotton fioc – We say Cotton bud (UK) or cotton swab (USA)
  • Un discount – A Hard-discount supermarket. “Discount” only means “sconto” in English.
  • Un fiction – A miniseries. “Fiction” means “storia o racconto di fantasia” in English
  • Un talent – A talent show. “Talent” means “talento” in English.
  • Un golf – A sweater or a jumper or a jersey. “Golf” is a sport in the UK and USA.
  • Un Mister – A football coach.
  • Un night – A nightclub. On its own “night” only means notte in English.
  • Un residence – A residencial hotel, a residency hotel or an extended stay hotel.
  • Un happy hour – A happy hour is a time when drinks are sold cheaply, or half price, in a bar to encourage drinking and to get the bar full earlier. There is no equivalent for what Italians take to mean as “apericena”. At a Happy Hour in the UK or USA you drink a lot and pay very little. At a Happy Hour in Italy your drink very little and eat a lot!
  • Fare footing Go jogging. “Footing” in English means “appoggio per i piedi
  • Plum cake Loaf cake. For us a plum cake means “torta di prugne”
  • Pullman Luxury bus or coach
  • Pungiball Punching bag or punching ball
  • Sexy shop – Sex Shop. “Sexy shop” to us would mean that the shop, itself, is very sexy (che il negozio stesso è sexy e affascinante).
  • Social – We say Social network
  • Fare un po di social – to go onto social networking sites for a while.
  • lo Smartworking Working from home or Remote working. We have no idea what you mean if you say “He is in smartworking”. Please say “He is working from home”.
  • Spot TV advert. For us “spot” means macchia.
  • Stage Internship. “Stage” means “palcoscenico; palco”. Fare uno stage – to do an internship.
  • Un ticket pay the cost associated to a National Health Care System service
  • Tight Morning Suit or Morning Dress.