Brioche and 7 other English words with surprising meanings in Italy

Scripted’s talented community of freelance writers have a variety of expertise and specialties. While many of our customers hire writers to execute their content marketing strategy, our writers deliver high-quality content in many formats. You can find content writers, blog writers, ghostwriters, and SEO writers all with experience in your niche.

The following is a an example of a Holidays blog post:

“Ecco le sue brioche” (“here are your brioches”), the baker said, handing me a paper bag with my order.

“No, croissants”, I said.

“Si, brioche”, he said, nodding.

Frustrated because I couldn’t remember how to say “I ordered croissants, not brioches” in Italian, I opened the bag to reveal two fresh and crispy croissants. The baker didn’t get my order wrong: brioche means “croissant” in northern Italy.

More than 10 years down the road, I still love croissants and I still tend to be quizzical when I hear an English word with a different meaning in spoken Italian.

Here are a few common English words you will hear often if you move to Italy. You might think you know what these words mean in your home country, but when you’re in Italy, you’ll be expected to use them in an exotic way, as the Italians do.


If your Italian girlfriend asks if you’ve seen her beauty, because she can’t remember where it is, she’s not trying to be philosophical. She’s asking if you’ve seen her makeup purse.


When you rent an apartment in Rome or Milan, look for one with a box if you want a secure parking place. In Italy, a box is a small garage that usually fits a single car (yes, a real-size car) and nothing else. The Italians use the word garage, not box, for a proper garage, where you can park your car, as well as store your boxes, bikes, and tools.


Something that’s thrown in the water in Italy ends up flushed down the toilet, as water (pronounced vater) is the word for “toilet”. The Italian word for “water” is acqua.


You’re going skiing in the Dolomites, at Cortina d’Ampezzo, and a friend tells you to bring a good pile. What do you pack? A good fleece jacket. But it can’t hurt if you pack a pile of cash instead.


Meeting an Italian passionate about footing is not as rare as meeting an Italian passionate about extreme ironing. If your roommates ask you if you’d like to go footing with them, they’re only asking if you’d like to go jogging.


If your Italian co-worker’s PC has gone in tilt (literal translation of andato in tilt), it didn’t physically tilt. Usually rebooting the machine fixes the problem. And if your boss says she went in tilt (andata in tilt) while giving a presentation to a client, she didn’t trip and fall; she experienced a brain freeze.


What’s a plumcake without a plum? A loaf cake in Italy. The classic recipe for Italian plumcake has no plums or other type of fruit. But I often add plums when I bake plumcakes—just because I’m a stickler for words (and because the dried plums in my pantry always seem to outlive their expiry date, and I hate wasting food).

Cristina N.

I have a background in geology engineering and a keen interest in science, nature, and traveling. Before becoming a professional editor and writer in 2012, I worked as an academic researcher for seven years and earned a PhD in earth sciences from Cardiff University, UK. I like...

Jobs Completed 2 Customer Ratings 2 Job Success 2/2 (100%)

Other content marketing examples from Cristina N.

Preparing for the Inconceivable Risk—Are You Ready for Black Swans?

When rare and extreme events never observed before occur, they have major consequences and someti... Read More

Nonfiction books for your summer reading list

If catching up on your reading is something you’d like to do this summer, be very selective with ... Read More

How to minimise the cost of editing

Professional editing services do not come cheap. At $30–$60 (freelance editing rates according to... Read More

Similar content marketing examples from other writers

Turkey: Enemy Without, Enemy Within

Turkey: Enemy Without, Enemy WithinThe Turkish government’s intolerance to the idea of a Kurdish ... Read More

Fun Things to Do From Los Angeles to San Francisco

Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of California’s most popular vacation destinations, are about ... Read More

10 Reasons Why a Cruise Is Educational for Kids

One of the best ways to enjoy traveling as a family is to take a cruise. Once you're on board, yo... Read More

The Adrenaline Junkie’s Guide to High Performance Pontoon Boats

Back in the year 1951, a man named Ambrose Weeres changed the future of boating by inventing the ... Read More

Sightseeing in Historical Paradise

Sightseeing in Historical ParadiseAt first glance, Paradise looks like a sleepy little area you m... Read More

Water Conservation at Home and On the Road

Earth is covered with large oceans, lakes and rivers full of water. In fact, Earth has much more ... Read More