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50 good-to-know Italian adjectives part 2 — negatives

Here are some good-to-know Italian adjectives that express something negative: for positive adjectives (numbers 1-10) see this lesson.

11) brutto (ugly, bad)

Brutto is the opposite of bello, and works the same way. We use brutto to talk about a movie we didn’t like, or something that is physically unpleasant to look at. Just like bello, brutto is more than ugly. It’s often used to mean "bad," for instance: un brutto incidente (a bad accident). 

Che brutto incidente!
What a terrible accident!

12) cattivo (bad, mean, nasty, evil)

This is another kind of “bad,” but often has more to do with non-physical things. Someone can be una cattiva persona (a nasty person).


13) pessimo (really bad, awful)

This is a wonderful adjective to have in your repertoire when you really need to call something “awful.”


Quel risotto era pessimo. (That risotto was really awful.)


14) scorretto (unfair, unjust, rude)

This is one of those wonderful adjectives that, by merely adding the “s” prefix, becomes the opposite of the original word, in this case, corretto.

Va be', ma non ti sembra scorretto nei confronti del mio Cicci? -No.

OK, but don't you think it's unfair to my Cicci? -No.

Caption 32, La Ladra EP. 8 - Il momento giusto - Part 9

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15) terrible  (terrible, awful, horrendous)

Here’s a partially true friend. We add it because it will be an easy word to call on if you need a negative adjective. It is not the first choice for Italians, though, and usually describes something as extraordinarily intense.

Qui, in seguito a una terribile frana, non abita più nessuno.

Here, following a big landslide, no one lives here anymore.

Caption 48, Basilicata Turistica Non me ne voglio andare - Part 2

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16) terrificante (dreadful, horrifying, terrifying, scary)

False friend alert. Terrificante does not mean “terrific.” It is a negative adjective, often used to mean “terrible,” but also “terrifying,” — inspiring fear.

Cioè, viviamo in un mondo che è brutale, terrificante... -Aspro, sì.

That is, we live in a world that's brutal, terrifying... -Bitter, yes.

Caption 6, Fellini Racconta Un Autoritratto Ritrovato - Part 8

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17) orrendo (horrible, hideous, horrendous, dreadful, awful, terrible)

This is a strong, extreme (negative) adjective, but it’s there when you need it, as a true “friend.” Eyebrows up, eyes wide open in horror.

18) noioso (boring, annoying, tedious, irritating)

This is a great adjective because, as well as describing a boring movie, it can also describe something or someone that’s annoying you or being a nuisance:

Quel film era molto noioso. Mi sono addirittura addormentato (That film was boring. I even fell asleep).
Non essere noioso (Don’t be so irritating, don’t annoy me).


Eh, povero Dixi, il singhiozzo è noioso

Oh, poor Dixi, the hiccups are bothersome

Caption 15, Dixiland Il singhiozzo

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19) negato (hopeless, useless, incapable, decidedly ungifted)

This is a useful adjective for admitting someone does something badly because they have no talent, no gift, not because they aren’t trying.

Negato describes a person (or possibly an animal), not an action or thing. Negato comes from the verb negare (to deny, to negate) but here, we are talking about the talent of a person.

Sono negato per la cucina. (I’m no good at cooking. I’m a disaster at cooking.)

Il maestro dice che non ha mai visto nessuno più negato di me.

The teacher says he has never seen anyone less gifted than me.

Caption 41, Questione di Karma Rai Cinema - Part 9

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20) tirchio (stingy, miserly)

This describes a person who holds onto his or her money or possessions. However, in English, we might sooner use a noun such as “tightwad.”

Quanto sei tirchio (what a tightwad you are).


We hope these words will help you describe events, people, food, and more.