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[ih-tal-yuh n] /ɪˈtæl yən/
of or relating to Italy, its people, or their language.
a native or inhabitant of Italy, or a person of Italian descent.
a Romance language, the language of Italy, official also in Switzerland.
Abbreviation: It, It., Ital.
Origin of Italian
First recorded in 1350-1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word Italiānus. See Italy, -an
Related forms
Italianesque, adjective
anti-Italian, adjective, noun
half-Italian, adjective
non-Italian, adjective, noun
pro-Italian, adjective, noun
pseudo-Italian, adjective, noun
Pronunciation note
The pronunciation of Italian with an initial
[ahy] /aɪ/ (Show IPA)
sound (pronounced like the word eye) and often with level stress on the first and second syllables:
[ahy-tal-yuh n] /ˈaɪˈtæl yən/
is heard primarily from uneducated speakers. This pronunciation is sometimes facetious or disparaging in purpose and is usually considered offensive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Italian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He was received with joy for the service he had rendered to the Italian people.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • Yet we have just seen that the Greeks of old were too self-contained for their Italian brethren.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus Wilton Wallace Blancke
  • In any case, it was evident that Italian opera was a precarious enterprise.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • Rico could soon speak Italian as if he had always spoken it.

    Rico and Wiseli Johanna Spyri
  • The Corsicans speak Italian, and this would never do for a French schoolboy.

British Dictionary definitions for Italian


the official language of Italy and one of the official languages of Switzerland: the native language of approximately 60 million people. It belongs to the Romance group of the Indo-European family, and there is a considerable diversity of dialects
a native, citizen, or inhabitant of Italy, or a descendant of one
relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Italy, its inhabitants, or their language
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Italian

early 15c., "native of Italy," from Italian Italiano, from Italia "Italy" (see Italy). As an adjective from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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