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Italian Rebus
Creating and Solving an Italian Rebus
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"An Italian rebus is solved by writing the name of the object or action and letter combinations next to them."
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Italian pictionary. A riddle with pictures and symbols in Italian. Leonardo doodling in his notebooks. However it is described, and whatever form it takes, an Italian rebus is a divertimento that will also help improve your Italian vocabulary.

Log In, Solve an Italian Rebus
The community members of the About.com Italian Language Forum have started their own Italian rebus game with a series of puzzles. Using hints provided by the original poster, users guess the answer until successfully identifying the Italian word or phrase depicted. The hint for a recent puzzle, for instance, read: two words, first word five letters/second word seven letters—don't let'em grab your credit card.

Rules for Solving an Italian Rebus
Etymologically the word rebus comes from the Latin and means: by things; ablative plural of res (thing)—more at REAL. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a rebus is: "a representation of words or syllables by pictures of objects or by symbols whose names resemble the intended words or syllables in sound; also, a riddle made up of such pictures or symbols." An Italian rebus is essentially the same, with a few twists:

  1. An Italian rebus is solved by writing the name of the object or actions and the letters beside them, either before or after
  2. Letters are not clues or substitutions; they are part of the solution.
  3. Solutions are in Italian.
For example, imagine a drawing of two chins annotated with the letters M and O, a vinyl record with the letter N and a garden with the letter F. The solution: M, O, menti + disco, N + F, orto is equivalent to the phrase momenti di sconforto (moments of dejection...).

Sharpen Your Matita
Even Leonardi da Vinci created rebus puzzles! Often scrawled in the margins of his notepads, the Renaissance engineer, architect, and sculptor also enjoyed creating puzzles such as rebuses. One of his easier puzzles consisted of the letter O plus a drawing of a pear—o + pera is equivalent to the word "opera".

Try your hand at creating and solving an Italian rebus. Start with simple puzzles, peak at the answers if necessary to parse out the patterns, and in the process you'll learn more about the Italian language.


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