How to say beautiful in Italian for each gender
The general Italian word for beautiful is Bello/Bella. But it is not the only way to say beautiful in Italian!
In this short free lesson, you will discover which words can be used to say beautiful in Italian.
The Italian word that you use to say beautiful, bello, is used for both people and inanimate objects.
In the English language, the word for beautiful generally depends on the gender of the subject. If the subject is female, you generally use beautiful. As in "A beautiful woman."
But if the subject is male, you generally use "handsome." Like in the sentence: "He is a very handsome man."
Italian is different. Italian uses the same word, with only the ending -o or -a changing with the gender of the subject.
- "Un uomo bello" - A handsome man
- "Una ragazza bella" - A beautiful girl
- "La vita è bella" - Life is beautiful.
- "Il dipinto è bello" The painting is beautiful
As you can see, the ending changes. But why does bello become bella? We'll discuss that in the next paragraph.
In the Italian language, every noun has a gender. Depending on this gender, you use either the masculine or feminine article and adjective variant. Uomo is a masculine noun, so you need to use the masculine bello. Since ragazza is a feminine noun, you would need to use the feminine form bella. You will notice that the articles change too, depending on the gender of the noun.
The endings do not only apply to adjectives, but nouns can also be formed this way. If you know that ragazza means girl, what would ragazzo mean? Or ragazzi?
- ragazzo - boy
- ragazzi - boys, girls, boys and girls (plural)
A superlative is a form of an adjective used to make a comparison. You use the superlative form of an adjective to show something has a quality to the greatest or least degree.
What does bellissima mean in Italian?
Bellissima it's the superlative of "bella," the feminine adjective. You can say that to a female, or you can say that about a feminine noun such as "canzone" (song).
"Una canzone bellissima" - A very beautiful song
What does bellissimo mean in Italian?
Bellissimo means "very beautiful/handsome" and is the superlative of the masculine adjective. Bellissimo is a very common adjective used to describe a masculine object, person, or place.
"Un ragazzo bellissimo" - A very handsome boy
The suffixes “ -issimo /-issima" is an indicator of a superlative. This suffix can generally be translated as "very" or "the most."
How to say you're beautiful in Italian?
By now, you know it depends on the gender of who you're saying "you're beautiful" too.
If you if it a man who you are speaking to, you would say:
Sei bellissimo. – You are beautiful/very handsome.
If you are addressing a woman, you would say
Sei bellisiima. - You are beautiful.
Other ways how to say beautiful in Italian
A wonderful life or, as it is know in Italy: "La vita è meravigliosa"
Here are a couple of synonyms for beautiful that can you can use for describing people:
- Attraente - Attractive
- Affascinante - Fascinating
- Smagliante - Dazzling, brilliant
These adjectives, unlike bello/bella, do not change depending on the gender of the subject.
- Bellezza - Beauty (Often used as an exclamation, as in Che bellezza! – how beautiful!, that’s beautiful!)
- Meravigliosa - Magnificent, wonderful, marvellous La vita è meravigliosa! – life is wonderful!
- Straordinario - Extraordinary, special, amazing
- Stupendo - Stupendous, marvellous
- Splendido - Splendid, glorious
For example, if you want to talk about the weather, you can say:
- Il tempo è bello - The weather is nice
- Il tempo è splendido - The weather is beautiful (The weather is splendid - see the cognate?)
How not to use beautiful in Italian
"Hey, beautiful!" and other unintentional catcalls.
Before we start, how ciao bella/bello would be perceived depends on which area you are in; regional varieties exist. I am used to Northern Italy (Milan), and ciao bella/bello were commonly used greetings between my social circle and me.
So, keeping above disclaimer in mind: The Italian equivalent for "hey beautiful," ciao bella, can be perceived as rude when addressing a stranger. Maybe it's wise that you don't use it unless you are familiar with the person you are greeting.
Please be aware of these regional differences, and observe or ask before you start catcalling without meaning to do so. Remember, when in Rome...
Can you say Ciao bello? Or would that be perceived as sleazy?
That depends on the context, and regional varieties differ too, but in general, no, it's not sleazy. It's an entirely natural and widely used greeting, but mostly by women addressing men.
Men who address women use ciao bella, and men addressing men often use ciao grande.
Ciao bello, ciao bella!
Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you, and you now know how to say beautiful in Italian. If you're looking for more useful vocabulary, check out our Italian frequency dictionaries.
If you want any more free Italian lessons, check out the rest of our blog.
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below!
Until next time! Ciao bello, ciao bella!