Gay Dictionary: Italian

How to say gay in Italian

Italian is a language of Indo-European family formed by several dialects. It is spoken by about 62 million people and is official in 9 countries or regions. In the vast Italian Gay Dictionary placed at your disposal highlights the obsession in Italy with bottom gays and this is probably due to the intimate and peculiar relationship that Italy has had with male homosexual behavior. As we explained in our article Finocchio for Protest Collection , or Pedicabo Ego Vos et Irrumabo for Funny Collection, Italians inherited the Greek homosexual relationship system, teacher-pupil, and transformed it into the master-slave system, that allowed a man fuck their slaves and men in general, without prejudice to his manhood as long as fulfill his role as father and man in society. Be fucked or sucking a dick were abominable acts, but the opposite was allowed. 2000 years later we can see that most of insults are directed to the reviled group of bottoms, when logically cannot exist a bottom without a top. Already said Jeanne Moreau in Fassbinder film, Querelle, "each man kills the thing he loves", and it seems that in Italy homophobia is directly proportional to the love for gay sex.

Source: "Il gergo queer nell'italiano novecentesco e contemporaneo" Doctoral Thesis by Daniel de Lucia, Università "G. D'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara (2013)


Term Definition

reference to "holy water" of the Catholic churches and the custom of its users, crossing themselves after dip their fingers in the water in a pile at the entrance, that water ends up in the hands of everyone, so if they say "Acquasantiera" to a person is because everyone has in their hands, having sex with everyone.


ambidextrous, slang of bisexual.


ambivalent, versatile. Related to the top and bottom roles in sex for both gays and lesbians, an ambivalent person is one who takes both roles.


term used in Naples to call gays.


fag hag, that is, heterosexual woman friend of a gay man, with whom she exchanged tips and tales of sexual and sensual experiences.

Related: Omosorella, Frociarola.


euphemism for couple, partner.


slang to express the relationship between two gay men without considering the active or passive role.

Amor platonico

it expresses both asexual love and love between two men. Related to the Dialogues of Plato.

Amor socratico

homosexual relationship, referring to Socrates.

Andare a vela e a motore

“go sailing and motor” referring to bisexuality. Expressed with the double traction possibility of some boats in relation to the double chance in sexual relations with men and women.


abnormal. Insult against LGBT people. Understood as a breach of the rule, irregular thing, etc. In Italy, it is one of the most harmful, more violent and more difficult to eradicate expressions. It originated in the 12th century.

Arare con l’asino

plowing with a donkey. Have sex with men. It is a biblical reference. In Deuteronomy (22, 10), says: "Thou shalt not plow with an ox and ass together." Therefore, plowing with a donkey is considered unusual, abnormal, etc., relating to anal sex.


have homosexual relations. Referring to Pietro Aretino (1492-1556), poet, writer and playwright, who was accused by another writer Niccolo Franco (1515-1570) to be homosexual.

Arte de’ poeti

art poet. Archaic derogatory euphemism for homosexual acts. Homosexuality, disapproved by Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) as a common practice of literary despite also being a writer.

Related: Artista.


artist. Up to half of the '900 is often used as a synonym for homosexual, by the middle-class belief that artists are always a bit odd and often homosexual.

Avere la vespa

to have the wasp. Expression used to indicate that a person is homosexual.


baffi is mustache, and baffa is an effeminate gay moustached. Widely used in the 70s and 80s, where the mustache was very fashionable, to define those who despite his manly appearance, were actually deeply sensitive.


burlesque expression for a very effeminate gay moustached.

Related: Checca.


doll. Burlesque typical Neapolitan expression referring to effeminate gay.


stall, point of sale. Gay who loves to wear false necklaces, bracelets and rings.


it is an expression that is not used today, but very used in old Italian documents. Bardassa means passive homosexual and, as on other occasions it is expressed in feminine. The term comes from the Arabic word “Bardag”, meaning slave boy, which in turn comes from the Persian expression “Hardah” that means slave. Keep in mind that in the Roman Empire was transformed the Greek homosexual construction system, teacher-pupil, to the master-slave system that socially allowed men fuck their slaves, and in general the homosexual behavior if it was in a top (active) sex role.

Variations: Bardascia, Bagascio, Bardasceddu, Bardasciari.


used in the area of Lombardy, the term has its origin in the custom to going to attack (battere) gay men in cruising areas in the city walls (bastion).


homosexual man who frequents cruising places (battuage) for sexual encounters.


from the ancient Persian “berdaj” it is a term brought to Europe by the French Crusaders to name a very effeminate man in form and appearance.


old gay seeking twenties.


Tuscan typical expression to insult gays, meaning ass and bottom homosexual. Comes from the word Buca meaning hole.

Variations: Bucaiolo, Buca.


ox. Male homosexual. Probably related to the meek and little aggressive character of the animal, characteristics traditionally attributed to gay men.


bugger. Widely used at the beginning of the nineteenth century with the meaning of active homosexual, but currently unused.

Variations: Buzzarone, Buggiarone, Bolgiròn (Lombard), Buzeròn, Buzaròn (Veneto), Buzzarrùni (Sicilian).


Genoese term for male homosexuality.


Roman term for male homosexuality.


Emilian term for homosexual man. The idea is that a homosexual man is a hole (buco), a big hole, or receiver. It is common in the dialect of Italian-romance area.


poop-vincent. Inter-regional slang for bottom homosexual man.


typical of Sardinia is a strong insult for gays.


young homosexual. Derives from goat as slang of prostitute.


gay in search of military men.


young homosexual. It comes from the Latin expression "catamitus" which in turn comes from the Greek "Ganymede" In Greek mythology Ganymede was a beautiful youth loved by Zeus.


pejorative term for gay haunting for sex in public wc and restrooms.


pejorative feminine term used for especially effeminate gay man, whom is presumed a bottom sexual role. This term had special diffusion by the actions of the group Spaventapassere (Scarecrow)

The origin of this expression is not clear, but revolves around the patriarchal identification, that is, the attribution of female characteristics to gay men, since according to this point of view, gays are men who are like women:

  1. Checca is the diminutive of Francesca, women’s name, and as in the case of the Spanish expression Marica, is a woman's name used to call homosexual men.

  2. In some parts of Italy as Tuscany and Lazio, checca is slang for female reproductive organ.

  3. In Venice and Tuscany used expressions like Cecca and Checa, indicating vulgar, stupid and careless woman. Other terms, such as Pato (Gay Dictionary: Latin America), have their origin in the attribution of many negative features to gays, so that using the expression Checca could to extend the negative characteristics of some women to all homosexual men.

Checca is widely used in Lazio, Tuscany and Lombardy, where the masculine form Checco is used too, and is also used to a lesser extent in the rest of Italy.

Variations: Amichecca (hag fag), Checcaggine, Criptochecca (homosexual in the closet), Chierichecca (fanatic catholic homosexual), Scheccare (acting in effeminate, angry or hysterical way), Arcichecca (of Arcigay association), Aristochecca (Dandy), Melochecca (music lover).

Composed expressions: Checca Fatua, Checca Fracica, Checca Isterica, Checca Manifesta, Checca Marcia, Checca Onnivora, Checca Pazza, Checca Persa, Checca Sfatta, Checca Sfranta, Checca Storica, Checca Velata, Baffo-Checca, Etero-Checca, Checca Power!


very effeminate hairdresser.


condition. Term used to highlight both sexual orientation and / or gender identity and all that implies socio-culturally. Sometimes it shows a negative connotation.

Cü alegher

term used in Milan for bottom homosexuals, but can also be used for the tops.


culattone diminutive.


Tuscan and also interregional term used for homosexual men.


homosexual man.


interregional expression for male homosexuality.


Northern expression for male homosexuality.

Variations: Culatino, Culattina


derogatory term used mainly in the region of Lombardy, and is understood as a bottom homosexual. According to some it would not be an augmentative of culo (ass), but a derived form of "inculatone" or sodomized.


homosexuality in vulgar Tuscan dialect.


popular metonymy to name the passive homosexual.

Culo allegro

cheerful ass. Male homosexuality.


insult for gay used in Piemontese. Derived from Latin “Cupa”, meaning barrel or container, reaching to the current Italian with the term "semicupio" which is the basin in the bathroom to wash sitting. The idea is to conceive the gay man as a container, as is the case with expressions of Neapolitan “Vasetto”, Lumino in the South, the Tuscan terms like Buco and Bucaiolo, and the Emilian term Busone.


lady. Bottom homosexual man.


linguistic joke transforming Dee-jay into D-gay




democratic. Adjective to indicate that a person has sex with everyone.




augmentative of “Donna” (woman). Extremely effeminate gay.


derived from Hercules, meaning muscular and effeminate gay.

Essere così, essere di quelli

"being like that," "being of those". Being homosexual. The essence of contempt of a homophobic society that does not pronounce the name.

Essere dell’altra sponda

“being from the other shore”, coinciding with the Spanish expression “ser de la otra acera / ser de la acera de enfrente” (being the opposite sidewalk). Indicates with sufficient scorn the idea of being homosexual, that is, people living on the opposite side of the "normal" people. Opposed to "essere della parrocchia" or being of the parish.

Essere di casa

being of home. Expression used to indicate that a man is homosexual by the issue of linking the home with the woman. Housewife, homemaker.


besides short form for heterosexual, it can also be used for top homosexual.


heterosexual person who speaks and behaves in female form. HeteroGay.


hetero-integralist. Heterosexual person who has no problem in having LGBT friends.


effeminate gay man.


augmentative of Fata.


synonym for bottom homosexual man, loanword from Neapolitan to Italian. Drives from the French word Femme.


effeminate gay. Typical expression from Naples.

sissy. Applied to effeminate boys or men.
Figlio della Pentapoli

pentapolis son. Homosexual. Biblical reference to Palestine district formed by the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Zeboim, Zoar and Adama.


finocchio reivindica

Its literal translation is fennel, and is slang of faggot. It was thought that the origin of this expression was in the Middle Ages when in Italy gays were burned at the stake. They threw fennel into the fire to cover up the smell of burning flesh, for the public knows why they were burned and to made a slower death. However at that time Finocchio meant silly man, worthless, despicable, untrustworthy, etc, negative characteristics of men that were attributed to homosexuals by the simple fact of being gay. In our opinion, this process of attribution is the origin of this expression as slang of faggot. Check out the articles you have below for more details of this word and the history of homosexuality in Italy.

See: Gay Dictionary: Finocchio (Italy)

Finocchio (Italy) Protest Collection


bottom homosexual man. Comes from a brand of a type of rifle with breech. The Italian word "retrocarica" which is translated into English is breech, is slang for buttocks ass.


feminine of frocio, derogatory term for gay men.


fag hag. Heterosexual woman who likes to surround himself with gay people, to share her interests, and sometimes falls in love with them.

Related: Omosorella, Amichecca.


typical expression of Rome and Lazio to insult gays, although its use is widespread throughout Italy. Its origin, despite the efforts of many specialists is unclear, since lies in the scope of the Roman dialect slang, which leaves no written documents. The spread of the term in Italy came after World War II due to neorealist movies and novels. In any case, different explanations focus on several issues common to other expressions worldwide and more specific.

  1. Foreign Men: in most countries homosexuality, at one time or another has been seen as a vice come from abroad. In the case of Italy they suffered attacks of German mercenaries, jokes against the Frenchmen who occupied Rome and the papal Swiss Guard, men from neighboring countries, France, Switzerland and Germany, socially gifted of the worst habits and ways of being as homosexual behavior. Frocio sometime was used to call foreigners.

  2. Despicable man or small man: from the Frocio expression, or its variations, it would be used to call foreigners, could also be used to name the despicable man in general, and thus by extension, used for homosexual men. Also keep in mind its relationship with the Latin word flaccus, meaning loose, flabby, soft, etc.

  3. The nose: Others point to the nose from the expression "Froge" that relates to the nose. On the one hand we have the "Fontana delle Froge" (fountain of the nose) a unlocated fountain of Rome where homosexuals supposedly often met. And secondly, that the soldiers of the papal Swiss Guard, were drunkards and over time their nose grew, being less attractive to women. In addition, the relationship in Rome between this anatomical part with dubious or suspicious things.

Variations: Froscio.




typical of Sicily is an insult to bottom gay men. With the etymology of this word is re-connect the youth with bottom gay, as in the case of the word “Bardassa”. Some suggest the etymology from the Arabic word (c)Arús, meaning young, fiancee, kid, and “Bardassa” itself as a lively boy or dissolute.

Variations: Larruso, Garrusa, Arrusu, Iarrusu, Garrusuni, Jarrusu.

Gioco dei frati

game of the friars. Archaic derogatory euphemism for homosexuality or homosexual act. It clearly refers to homosexual habits of the Catholic clergy.


gay scene.


“gomorrist”. Insult to bottom gay men in relation to the city of Gomorrah.




young homosexual. The term comes from a famous poem by Horace.

Losco individuo

Losco translating into English, is somber, shady, unclear. It is synonymous of homosexual man.


used in southern Italy, it means homosexual man. Lumino is a small oil lamp to illuminate the religious images or bedrooms, and is related to homosexuality to be a container, in this case oil.

Ma va a Carbonia

“And goes to carbonia” An expression used in Sardinia that affirms homosexuality of the person to which it refers. Takes its name from Carbonia, a city built by the fascist regime in 1936 to facilitate the extraction of coal. Probably for the issue of making holes or introduced into them.


term used in a derogatory sense as the masculine form of the Italian word Mamma (mother), from those who oppose the recognition of the existence of a homosexual parenting or even planning a gay parenting.


faggot, used in a derogatory manner by the Brazilian trans collective.


half woman. Derogatory term for gays.


bottom homosexual boy. From the French word “mignon”, which means cute, charming, elegant.

whore, prostitute. Also used for homosexual men.

Genoese expression for bottom homosexual.

Mondo squallido

sordid world. Expression used in the Italian northeast to refer to the set of homosexual men.



homosexual man. Term used in northern Italy and that originally indicated the ass, and by extension homosexual. Some people relate it to the nose (naso) as a metaphor of the phallus. Employed in feminine form.

Non conformista

nonconformist, ironic form for homosexuality.

Occhio fino

linguistic game that reverses the word finocchio parts. Used in child and adolescent language or with intent to ridicule, when they want to avoid using the word finocchio considered rude.


used in Milan for passive male homosexuality. Related to Occhiello (eye), meaning ass eye, arsehole, etc.

Ommo ‘e mmerda

shit and homo, homo shit. Neapolitan expression for the top male homosexuality.


homosexual abbreviation generally used for bottom gays.




fag hag. Heterosexual woman who frequents gay people, gay bars, literature, and gay culture in general, who likes to surround himself of gay people, and sometimes even falls in love with them.

Related: Frociarola, Amichecca.


Lombard form of the word recchione.


Roman form for bottom homosexual man


“who gives his ass”. Bottom homosexual man.


bottom homosexual. From the Latin Pathicus, meaning subjected.


rhetorical term that indicates a person who likes everything, as the context may be pejorative, because for for the simple fact that a man likes men, calling pentasexual may mean that likes bestiality, necrophilia, etc.


Northern Italian expression to insult bottom gay men.




Puncher. Gang member who is fun to go to beat gay people in their meeting places.


bottom homosexual, probably variant of the word pignatta.


piñata. Passive homosexual, probably because the idea of container or recipient, as in other words like Lumino.


young that lends itself to homosexual practices. Pivo which is derived from piva that is a bagpipe used in ancient Rome. It is a phallic metaphor.

Polvere sulle orecchie

"Dust in the ears". Insult for gays in southern Italy.


psychologist contrary to homosexuality.


octopus. Sicilian typical expression to point to a groper, toucher, feeler gay.


derogatory feminine form for gay men, is a variant of the word Ricchione.


faggot in Venetian dialect.

queen. Term used for effeminate gays.

typical of southern Italy is used as an insult to refer to homosexuals. The origin is not known with certainty, although it seems related to the ear. The fact of touching the ear to tell someone you are homosexual, it is a sign that is repeated in many other countries since ancient times. Others relate to the hare, animal with big ears, for his lust and bisexual behavior. Most likely that the origin of this expression can not be explained by etymology, but through anthropological issues.

Variations: Recchione, Recchia, Recchionazzo, Reciòn (Venice), Oreggia and Oreggiat (Lombardy).


upside down. Synonymous of male homosexuality.


broken arse. Name with extreme contempt bottom homosexual.


broken arse. Name with extreme contempt bottom homosexual.


bolted. Derogatory term for who often follows the bottom role.


equivalent to "gatta Moscia" or bored cat. He indicates a halfhearted gay man. A term referring to effeminate in dress and mentality gay, that has nothing to do with sexual tastes (top or bottom), indicating rather a state or way of being. It is a common expression in almost all of Tuscany while further in north.


young and novice gay or lesbian, a bit foolish or frivolous.


gay insult in disuse, in reference to the biblical city of Sodom.


Sicilian term for bottom male homosexuality.


third sex. Archaic term used in the 60s, coined by Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), in good faith, in attempting to explain male homosexuality.

Variations: Terzo sesso.

expression used in Milan for homosexual men.
whore. Also used for homosexual men.

Genoese expression for gay men.

Turpi figure del vizio

“Disgusting figure of vice”, used for male and female homosexuality.


archaic term for homosexual in use until the late 19th century. It is a loan term from German language, Urningtum, created in 1864 by the homosexual activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895), in reference to the goddess Aphrodite Urania on the Symposium of Plato, protective of homosexual love, and would be the so-called third sex.

Variations: Uranismo, Urningo/a.


Neapolitan obsolete term to appoint bottom homosexuals. Its literal translation is small bowl.



homosexual in Roman dialect. Pasolini presents the word in the glossary of his novel and screenplay "Una vita violenta” (A violent life)


Aunty. Expression imported from the French word Tante. Indicates the single and aged homosexual man. Widely used in the 50 and 60, referring to the stereotype of the maiden aunt.


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