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Italian Word Oddities and Trivia
Hints and Tricks For Italian Scrabble, Anagrams, and Crosswords
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So you've mastered first conjugation Italian verbs, learned how to count in Italian, and can roll your r's like a native. If you're looking for the next linguistic challenge, try an Italian word game such as Scarabeo (Scrabble), Paroliere (Boggle) or a cruciverba (crossword puzzle). It's a great divertimento and a terrific way to improve your vocabulary skills.

I'd Like to Buy a Vocale
Here are a few tips for solving Italian word games. When filling in the blanks of a cruciverba, remember that Italian abbreviations and acronyms stem from the Italian term (the United Nations is referred to as the Organizzazione delle Nazioni Unite and abbreviated ONU). If you're staring at a rack of Scarabeo tiles including the letters A, A, E, I, O, U, and L, don't despair! Consider these word oddities:

  • aiuola (flower bed) has 5 syllables and 6 letters; its plural AIUOLE is the shortest Italian word with all 5 vowels.
  • funamboleschi (about funambolists) longest word in Italian with no repeating letters
  • calafatata (caulked) has 5 A's. Other words with 5 A's are ASSATANATA (possessed by the devil), ACCAVALLATA (crossed), SANTABARBARA (powder-magazine), and ACCALAPPIACANI (dog hunters).
  • effervescentemente (sparklingly) has 7 E's.
  • indivisibilissimi (very unsplittable) has 8 I's and no other vowels. INDIVISIBILI (unsplittable) has 6 I's and no other vowels.
  • contropropongono (they counterpropose) has the most O's.
  • cuscussù or urubù (couscous and a kind of condor) have the most U's.
If after a shake of the Paroliere board game there are recognizable letter combinations amongst the game cubes, take advantage of the fact that Italian nouns have a pattern to their singular/plural endings. And since regular Italian verbs have consistent, repeating endings, use combinations such as -iamo, -ate, and -ano to form new words.

L-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng words
Besides word games, you can impress your friends with Italian word trivia. Here are a few examples of unusual Italian words:

  • precipitevolissimevolmente (as fast as you can) is a word created in 1677 and is traditionally considered the longest word in Italian.
  • sovramagnificentissimamente (in a very, very, very magnificent way, 27 letters) was used by Dante in "De vulgari eloquentia" in the 14th century but is unknown now.
  • Chemical names and numbers can be even longer words. In Italian, 444,444 is quattrocentoquarantaquattromilaquattrocentoquarantaquattro and has 58 letters).
  • anticostituzionalmente (anticonstitutionally) is described as the longest Italian word in common use.

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