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  • Writer's pictureThe Sicilian Wanderer

The Most Known and Used Sicilian Words: A Journey into the Colorful Dialect of the Island

Hello everyone, travel lovers! Today we dive into the linguistic heart of Sicily, an island that not only offers breathtaking landscapes and mouth-watering cuisine, but also a rich and vibrant language that reflects its unique and dynamic culture.

Sicilian is much more than a mere dialect. It's a true language with a millennia-old history and a linguistic heritage dating back to ancient Greece, with Arabic, Norman, Spanish, and Italian influences. Its colorful vocabulary resonates in the streets, homes, and markets of the island, giving life to unforgettable expressions and phrases.

Here are the most used Sicilian words:

  • Babbalucio: This word is used to indicate a snail, but it's also used figuratively to describe a slow or lazy person.

  • Affacciuni: Refers to a very forward or intrusive person, often annoyingly so.

  • Chiàcchiari: This term literally translates as "chatter" and can be used in the context of having a chat or discussion.

  • Fimmina: This word is used for a woman. Ex: "Quella fimmina è assai bedda!" (That woman is very beautiful!)

  • Agghiorna: Means "today". Ex: "Agghiorna andamu a lu mari!" (Today we go to the sea!)

  • Truzzu: This word indicates a boy or a young man. It can be used affectionately or derogatorily.

  • Nzuddha: This term means "head". Figuratively, it can be used to indicate a stubborn person.

  • Furtuna: This word translates as "fortune". Ex: "Tanti auguri e tanta furtuna!" (Best wishes and good fortune!)

  • Matri: This term means "mother" and is used in many parts of Sicily instead of the Italian "madre".

  • Munaciello: This word literally means "little monk". It's an expression used to indicate a poltergeist or a household spirit.

  • Capiddazzu: This term means "little head" and is usually used affectionately for a child.

  • Malafimmina: This term is used to describe an evil or bad woman, sometimes used derogatorily.

  • Palora: This word means "word". Ex: "Ascolta, ti voglio dire una palora" (Listen, I want to tell you a word)

  • Siccia: Means "thirst". Often used in the context of "aviri siccia", to be thirsty.

  • Stragghiuni: This term indicates a foolish or stupid person.

  • Sfarzusu: This term is used to describe a vain or pompous person.

  • Pisciareddu: An affectionate term for a small fish, but often used to refer to a small child.

  • Ciuri: This term means "flowers". Ex: "Guarda quanti ciuri!" (Look how many flowers!)

  • Zitellu/Zitella: Respectively boy and girl, often used to indicate unmarried young people.

  • Mizzica: An expression of surprise or disappointment, similar to "damn!" in Italian.

  • Sgarrupatu: This word is used to indicate something that is broken or disordered.

  • Matriusa: This word is used to describe a very tired person.

  • Iddu/Idda: Respectively he/she in Sicilian.

  • Vucca: This term means "mouth". Ex: "Chiui a vucca!" (Shut your mouth!)

  • Unni: This term translates as "where". Ex: "Unni vai?" (Where are you going?)

  • Cu è?: This expression translates as "Who is it?". Ex: "Cu è alla porta?" (Who is at the door?)

  • Abbanniare: This term indicates the action of selling or offering for sale, typically used for street vendors.

  • Taliari: This term means to look or observe.

  • Pistìa: This term is used to indicate someone who eats a lot.

  • Mastru: These terms are used to indicate a master, or more generally an expert in a certain field.

  • Timpa: Word used to indicate a cliff or a crag. It can also refer to a steep or inaccessible place.

  • Babbu: This word is used as "foolish". Ex: tu si tuttu babbu (you are all foolish)

  • Muzzuni: Traditionally a terracotta container, but figuratively it can be used to indicate a stubborn person.

  • Acchianare: This term means "to go up".

  • Canciu: This term is used to indicate a change or a variation.

  • Disgraziatu: This word is an insult used to indicate an unfortunate or miserable person.

  • Cuticchia: This term is used to indicate something very small or of little value.

  • Sparagnare: This term means "to save".

  • Uomu: This word means "man". Ex: "Uomu d'onuri" (Man of honor)

  • Ranni: This word means "large".

  • Schifiusu: This term is used to indicate something dirty or disgusting.

  • Zagareddu: This term indicates a small and lively fire. Figuratively it can refer to a person full of energy.

  • Grasta: This term is used to indicate a plant pot.

  • Scaluni: This term indicates a large step or stair.

  • Stuortu: This term means "crooked". Ex: "st'arvulu è stuortu" (That tree is crooked)

  • Innamuratu: This term means "in love". Ex: "Sono innamuratu di te" (I am in love with you)

  • Picciriddu: This word is an affectionate term for "child". Ex: "Guarda quel picciriddu, che dolce!" (Look at that child, how sweet!)

  • Nichi: This word means "small".

  • Accommodari: This verb means "to arrange" or "to put in order".

  • Beddu: This term means "beautiful". Ex: "Oi è na bedda jurnata" (Today is a beautiful day)"

As we come to the end of our linguistic journey through Sicily, it's clear that the Sicilian language is not just a dialect, but a vibrant tapestry woven from diverse historical threads. Each word and phrase we've explored is a testament to the island's rich cultural heritage, a blend of Mediterranean influences that have shaped its unique identity over centuries. Whether you're a language enthusiast, a lover of Italian culture, or simply curious about the diverse ways people communicate, the Sicilian language offers a fascinating window into the soul of this enchanting island. As we bid 'addio' to our Sicilian adventure, we carry with us not only new words but also a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of regional languages and the stories they tell about the people who speak them. Until our next linguistic exploration, 'salutamu!' (we salute you!).

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