Italian words that look the same: Male, mela, mele, miele, maiale!


This week I want to have a little bit of fun with some words that look very similar to each other, but which mean completely different things.

They are a source of much laughter for me when I hear my husband trying to differentiate them. Not nice, I know. And that is why I took pity on him and decided to write a post that clarifies things once and for all.

I’ll probably do a video as well, so that you can listen to the right pronunciation - Stay tuned.

These are the confusing words:








Let’s get started.


MALE - pronounced with a long aaaaaa /mah-leh/

This word means bad, unwell.

Come stai? (how are you?)

Oggi, male! (today, not well!)


Of Latin origins, of course, this word is also present in the English language, as the poster of Maleficent indicates (Maleficent, in fact, means “doing evil things”)



MELA - pronounced /meh-lah/

This word means apple and it’s plural MELE /meh-leh/ means apples!

How do you remember this word? Does “Torta di mele” sound familiar?





Now, onto MIELE /mee-eh-leh/

It means honey or perhaps you are more familiar with the Miele brand for kitchen appliances. Often mispronounced, this word needs a little care: take your time and pronounce ALL the vowels. M-EE-EH-LEH

Miele logo


And finally MAIALE /mah-ee-ah-leh/

This means both pork, as in pork meat, and pig.

To remember how to correctly say this word, imagine that our little pig is called Maya.

Maia - le.



Hope this post clarified these tricky words.

Alla prossima (until next time)



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