How do you say 'what does it mean' in Italian?

what does it mean

Last week we learnt about the powerful “come si dice”, one of those sentences that can really boost and progress your Italian. Did you write it on a sticker note and practiced your "come si dice"?

Come si dice

This post will introduce you to the twin sister of “come si dice” and that is


/kosa voo-ol dee-reh/

lit. what does it want to say? (which sounds quite ridiculous). Better translated with

What does it mean?


A sentence to use when you hear a word in Italian and don't know what just happened.

cosa vuol dire

Image courtesy of The Telegraph


What I like about this sentence is what follows up after you use it:

If the person you are asking cosa vuol dire to speaks English, then you are in luck. Their English translation will quickly help you.

BUT if the person you are talking to doesn't speak any language other than Italian, then they will have to come up with synonyms, drawings, hand gestures and any other crazy ways to convey the meaning.

This is fantastic!

It not only enriches the interaction with the Italian person, but also it gives your brain a buzz. You are in fact trying to fill in the gap between the sound you heard and its mysterious meaning.

And when you get it, you will smile, with a sense of achievement.

So have fun with this new sentence and practice it with your fellow learners, Italian friends, teachers and why not, English speakers. Come on, show off your Italian.


PS: Don’t forget to put it on a post it if you want to really memorise it and never forget.

Cosa vuol dire2





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