ROMAN DIALECT
~~~~~
EXCLAMATIONS
AND
INTERJECTIONS





This is a selection of the many exclamations and curious emphatic expressions in roman dialect.
They often might sound very harsh (though they never mean to be so), and most of them are indeed considered foul speech in a standard Italian language context; nevertheless, they are still very often used, and not only by the common people.

NOTE: In order to help the readers, some of the roman words have been spelt with accented letters, which are normally not used.



ammàzza !
ammàzzelo ! ~~~ ammàppelo !

This is an exclamation of surprise, with either positive or negative sense, coming from the verb "ammazzare" = "to kill", though expressing no harmful intentions; its actual meaning is "Good heaven!, Oh my!".
It may be addressed directly to the subject of the sentence by adding the relevant pronoun suffix; in this case the last "a" is often changed to "e": "Ammàzzete!" (or "Ammàzzate!"), to you;
"Ammàzzelo! (or "Ammàzzalo!")", to him;
"Ammàzzela!" (or "Ammàzzala!"), to her; etc.
In some cases it is changed to "Ammàppete!", etc. to make the expression less harder, as the word looses it's original root, though decreasing also much of its original vigour (most of which depends on the strong hissing sound of the double "z").
It may be used alone, or to introduce an exclamative sentence which mentions the reason of such a surprise (i.e. "Ammàzzete, quanto magni!" = "Good lord, how much you eat!", etc.).




anvédi !
anvédi che robba ! ~~~ anvédi si che robba !

Rather similar to the above mentioned expression, "Anvédi!" is an exclamation of surprise, after seeing or witnessing something impressive, or quite strange, meaning "Look!". It is an emphatic corruption of "Vedi!" (imperative tense of the verb "vedere" = "to look", "to see"), always in the singular form.
It may be either used alone, or in other expressions (the most common of which are shown above), always meaning "Look at this!", or "What an incredible thing!".




cazzo !
e cche cazzo !
nun capì (vedé, sentì, costà, ecc.) un cazzo

The word is the equivalent of "dick", but the expression is used with two different meanings:
  • as an exclamation, in case of regret ("what a bad luck!, damn!..." etc.) or strong determination (come on! at last! that's it!...etc.) , in which case it is often lengthened in "E cche ccazzo!" with an even more striking effect; once again, the strength of the expression depends on its phonetic effect, due to the double "z" (as for "Ammazza!"), not on the anatomical part it refers to;

  • with the meaning of "absolutely nothing", "not a thing", etc., in which case it is always used at the end of the sentence: "nun ce stava un cazzo!" for "absolutely nothing was there!".

(NOTE: other expressions from the same root exist)




che culo !
che bbùcio de culo !
avere culo

The word "culo" means "arse" in most Italian dialects, but in roman (and in a few others) it also means "luck". Therefore, the main expression sounds as "How lucky, what a luck!", and it may be even emphasized by adding: "Che bbłcio de culo!" (typically roman), literally "What an arse hole!", with the actual meaning of "How lucky!"; note how this expression never has the meaning of an insult, as it has in English, although in some cases it might have a negative sense: in playing cards, or in any other competitive activity, a victory would be commented by opponents: "Macché bravura, quello č bbłcio de culo!", for "That's no skill, that's luck!".
Unlike many other expressions, this one may be also used as a general verb ("Avere culo", that is "To have luck"), in any tense of the verb.
Some prudish people shorten it in the more 'puritan' form "Che bbłcio!", but apart from being less effective, it stresses the... 'anatomical detail', eventually proving even more obscene.




ciccia ar culo !

Typical expression meaning of "I don't care!", used in any circumstance, always pronounced proudly, almost as a challenge to the other person: "Nun vòi venì? Ciccia ar culo!", for "Don't you want to come? Who cares!"
Sometimes it is shortened in "Ciccia!", though less strong than the full expression.




mannàggia !...
mannàggia la miseria !

Exclamation of regret, coming from a contraction of "mal n'aggia", old italian form for "may he/she be harmed"; it has lost most of the hard feelings of the original meaning, so that now it is considered a rather friendly expression.
It may be used alone, or in the generic form "Mannàggia la miseria!" (Damn misery!), or more specifically addressed to somebody or something: "Mannàggia sto tempaccio!" for "Damned bad weather!", etc.




me cojoni ?

More than a question, this is an actual exclamation of surprise which means "Are you kidding?", used when receiving an unexpected piece of news, or being told something very strange, or very particular, etc.
It comes from the roman verb "cojonà" = "to make fun of somebody", which is less commonly used in other tenses.
This question does not require an answer.




monta quassł che vvedi Roma !

The literal meaning of this exclamation is "climb up here, and take a view of Rome". In pronouncing it, the speaker should place (or slam) the open palm of one of his hands on his other arm, duly flexed in a well-known gesture, and the actual meaning is more or less "get lost!", or "you can forget it!" or "you must be crazy!", or so, according to the context. This is a typical reply to an unreasonable request, which would cause some kind of damage, risk, or inconvenience to whom it is addressed. If, for instance, a friend would like you to go with him to a bunjee jumping meeting, unless you are a daredevil, this expression would make an excellent reply.
"Monta quassł che vedi Roma" is also the title of a collection of poems by the dialect poet Giulio Cesare Santini (1955).



li mortacci tua (sua, vostri, loro)

This very common swear, more or less Your damned dead (or his, her, etc.), is used in a number of situations:
  • as an exclamation of regret or reproach towards another person, which in some cases might even be considered a rather strong offence;
  • as an exclamation of regret if something unlucky happens, such as stumbling over a stone, or dropping a valuable object, etc.: in this case, the expression is usually addressed to the same object;
  • as a more general exclamation, either referred to somebody, or to some particular event (usually with a negative sense); in this case the expression may be shortened so to avoid referring it to anybody: "Li mortacci!...", more or less as "Damn!"
In some cases, instead, the expression might be even lengthened in: "L'anima de li mortacci tua", which sounds as "Your damned dead's soul" (more emphatic and 'baroque' than harsh).




te pòssin'ammazzà !
te pòssin'ammazzàtte !
che tte pòssino !

Typical exclamation, usually addressed to somebody, which means "May someone kill you (or him, or her, etc.)"; but once more, under a harsh appearance, this wish has absolutely no harmful meaning.
The emphatic conjunction "che" is often used for introducing the expression: "Che tte pòssin'ammazzà!".
The same relative pronoun used at the beginning of the expression is commonly repeated as a suffix to give a stronger emphatic sense: "te pòssin'ammazzàtte" (you), "lo pòssin'ammazzàllo" (him), "ve pòssin'ammazzàvve..." (you, plural), etc.
It is more often used with a sense of reproach, either strong or mild: in calling her rascal child a mother would say "vič quà, te pòssin'ammazzàtte!" (more or less "come here, you scamp!").
But sometimes it is also used as a mere exclamation, with no hard feelings at all towards the subject: in seeing a friend after many years, one could say: "Come stai? ...che tte pòssin'ammazzàtte!", which the meaning of "Good heavens!... How are you?".
In an even 'softer' form of the expression, the second part is omitted: "te pòssino!..." or "che tte pòssino!...".




me pòssino cecàmme !

Very similar to the previous expression, this one sounds as "May somebody blind me"; it is used to testify that something which has just been said is absolutely sincere, as the full-length meaning is "may I be blinded if this is not absolutely true".
It is used as a common reply to anybody argueing about a statement made which might sound strange, or incredible, or fake.




pijà un córpo
te pijàsse 'n córpo !
m'ha ppijàto 'n córpo

The roman word "córpo" (in which both letters "o" have a very close sound), means "stroke".
  • "Te pijàsse un córpo!", which sounds as "May you have a stroke!", is an expression whose real meaning is absolutely not that of a bad wish, but a kind of exclamation addressed to anybody who, with his behaviour, causes a sense of delusion or anger: to an opponent who wins the game, to the taxman knocking at the door, to the teacher for giving heavy homework, to the cat for stealing a sausage, etc. etc.
    Furthermore, it may be used also as a generic exclamation, with no hard feelings, similar to the above-mentioned "Te pòssin'ammazzàtte!".

  • The third expression is rather different, although it contains the same metaphoric concept of "suffering from a stroke": it has the actual meaning of "being terribly scared or worried" by something, commonly used also in less tragic situations: to a loud and sudden noise, a typical comment would be: "M'ha ffatto pijà un córpo!" ("It scared me to death!").



vammorì ammazzato !

Its literal translation would be "Go to die killed", but once more the actual use is much more friendly; it is addressed to somebody who might have aroused a sense of disapproval, more or less as in the expression "Get lost!".
It is commonly used in the singular second person (and it may be changed to the feminine form, if addressed to a woman).
Very often, the emphatic conjunction "Ma" is used to introduce the expression: "...Ma vvammorì ammazzato!", always pronounced with a rather heavy stress on the cluster "va".
It is also allowed as a noun, in the shortened form mor'ammazzato, with a meaning of "damned, vile, villain..." etc., for example: quer mor'ammazzato m'ha fregato centomila lire (i.e. "that scamp stole 100.000 lire from me").




vàttel'a ppijà 'n der culo !
pijàssela 'n der culo

The literal meaning is "Go and take it up your arse!", but this is merely an exclamation of mockery, used in several situations, especially when feeling teased or cheated by somebody, meaning "Get lost!" (just like the previous "vammorì ammazzato!" expression).
It may be used in second singular person (as above), or in second plural person ("Annàtevel'a ppijà 'n der culo!") when addressed to two or more people.

More or less the same expression ("to take it up one's arse") is also used in negative situations, meaning "to resign oneself", "to endure consequences", and in this case it may be used in any person, either singular or plural: if we run out of fuel and there's no petrol pump around, well... all we can do is "pijàccela 'n der culo" ("to take it up our arse") and go on foot !


~~~~~~~~~