A Romance Writer Learns Italian – My Word of the Week – Freddo/Freddissimo (adj. cold/freezing)

Freddo (Freddissimo)

adj. cold, glacial, frigid
adj. fig. dead, lifeless
adj. fig. detached, aloof, impassive, rational
n.   cold, cold weather

from Word Reference

Freddo

For previous installments of Italian Word of the Week, click here.

Adesso, fa freddissimo!–Right now, it’s freezing! (You can find an explanation of how freddo changed to freddissimo in my previous post.)

The reason I chose freddo this week is obvious. Il Regno di Ghiaccio (The Reign of Ice, i.e. the Italian title of the Disney movie Frozen) is an apt description of the current weather. The roads are iced over, frostbite is a few minutes of exposure away, and my car is making weird noises. D.C. doesn’t have it as bad as the rest of the country, but it was cold enough for me to dig out my gloves, scarf and hat from storage.

One of the first things one learns in Italian class is that (as with the case in French), one “has” cold as opposed to one “is” cold. In other words, ho freddo literally translates to “I have cold” but is the Italian equivalent of saying “I am cold.” Additionally, the weather “does” freezing as opposed to “is” freezing–(Il tempo) fa freddissimo. The idiomatic equivalent of fa freddissimo is fa un freddo cane, which, as far as I can tell, literally translates to (the weather) makes a frozen dog.

And since I get lethargic and sleepy whenever it’s cold out, this is all the effort I can muster for today. But calma e sangue freddo! (Keep calm and don’t panic–lit. calm yourself and keep your blood cold). My next Italian Word of the Week will hit the interwebs next Thursday.

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my post, please leave a comment.  

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