la gattamorta

This week’s Parole del Giorno are dedicated to my friend, Gaia, who helped me with publicity for our first book, Il vero italiano: Your Guide To Speaking “Real” Italian. We didn’t get the chance to catch up this weekend because of our busy schedules, so this is my going away present for her and to say “thanks for everything!” 🙂 When we went to Verona a few weeks ago, she used some interesting Italian expressions that I had never heard before. I made a list while we were walking around the city, and this week will feature the words and phrases she taught me since I know that you will all find them interesting and useful in your endeavor to learn Italian!

As some of you may already know, this week I am moving back to the United States after two and a half years of living full-time in Rome. I have done my best to share my experiences with all of you as well as share all of the Italian I have picked up along the way. It has been a truly amazing experience, and I want to especially thank my co-author and friend, Francesco, for all his help as well as Daniele for lending his amazing voice to the web site as well as helping me write new words and expressions. I also want to thank Giuseppe for his work last year in helping me with PdG!

Lastly, thanks to all of the followers and readers of PdG who have made it such a fun project to work on over the years! The successful fundraising this summer showed how much people really enjoy and care about the site. It wouldn’t be what it is today without all of your support, encouragement and engagement! Grazie mille!

Now onto the word…

Today’s Parola del Giorno is the noun, la gattamorta or la gatta morta (pl. le gattamorte) which means someone who plays dumb or a tease. It usually describes a person who appears shy and meek on the outside but hides a different character beneath, generally one that is sly and deceptive. It is often used in expressions such as fare la gattamorta (to play dumb) or in the negative (usually in the imperative) to mean to not play innocent (non fare la gattamorta!). See the expression used below:

Il tipico comportamento da gattamorta è quello lascivo, subdolo e sleale che una persona, apparentemente tranquilla e inoffensiva, utilizza per raggiungere i suoi scopi non sempre onesti.

The typical behavior of a tease is one who is lascivious, underhanded and disloyal who, while outwardly calm and harmless, uses this to achieves his or her ends that are not always honest.


Don’t forget that our newest book, Il vero italiano 2: Practice Makes Perfect, is due out this week! It should be available tomorrow or Wednesday on Google Play and shortly thereafter in the iBook Store and Selz! We are almost finished!