Most Common Italian Words


Are you trying to learn Italian this year?

The best way to get started is to memorize the 100 most common Italian words. This is a critical foundation to start forming sentences in Italian and ultimately have flowing conversations. But that’s not all. Many language experts will point out that focusing on the most common words in any language is the best investment for your time. Like English, you will rarely use complicated or trivial words in your daily life when speaking with friends, colleagues or family members. So why not focus on getting familiar with only the words you know you’ll use?


1,000 Most Common Italian words = 85%+ of comprehension

study done on the language learning revealed that:

Studying the first 1000 most frequently used words in the language will familiarize you with 76.0% of all vocabulary in non-fiction literature, 79.6% of all vocabulary in fiction literature, and 87.8% of vocabulary in oral speech.

Studying the 2000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 84% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 86.1% of vocabulary in fictional literature, and 92.7% of vocabulary in oral speech.

And studying the 3000 most frequently used words will familiarize you with 88.2% of vocabulary in non-fiction, 89.6% of  vocabulary in fiction, and 94.0% of vocabulary in oral speech.


If you’re an ambitious learner, you can certainly learn 3,000 of the most common words for 94% comprehension. However, for most of us, we want to optimize for what’s the best return for our time.

Based on this study, it seems that 1,000 most common words is the best bet. The reason is, you have to memorize 3x (or 2,000 more words) to be able to understand only 6.2% of vocabulary in oral speech. Doesn’t seem very exciting considering how valuable your time is. In fact, we’ve seen that most Italian learners can get to a comfortable conversation speaking level with less than 1,000 Italian words.



100 Most Common List of Italian Words

To help you save time, we’ve gathered the 100 most common list of Italian words to start you off with. If you’re interested in finding out the other 900 list of Italian words, here they are:

-1,000 most common Italian words (audio version)
-2,000 most common Italian words (memrise)

accept accettare
allow permettere
ask chiedere/domandare
believe credere
borrow * prendere in prestito
break rompere
bring portare
buy comprare
can/be able potere
cancel cancellare
change cambiare
clean pulire
comb pettinare
complain lamentarsi
cough tossire
count contare
cut tagliare
dance ballare
draw disegnare
drink bere
drive guidare
eat mangiare
explain spiegare
fall cadere
fill rempire
find trovare
finish finire
fit * far stare
fix aggiustare
fly volare
forget dimenticare
give dare
go andare
have avere
hear sentire
hurt * fare del male
know sapere/conoscere
learn imparare
leave partire/andarsene
listen ascoltare
live vivere
look guardare
lose perdere
make/do fare
need * aver bisogno
open aprire
close/shut chiudere
organize organizzare
pay pagare
play giocare
put mettere
rain piovere
read leggere
reply rispondere
run correre
say dire
see vedere
sell vendere
send spedire
sign firmare
sing cantare
sit sedersi
sleep dormire
smoke fumare
speak parlare
spell * fare lo spelling
spend spendere
stand alzarsi
start/begin cominciare
study studiare
succeed * avere successo
swim nuotare
take prendere
talk parlare
teach insegnare
tell dire
think pensare
translate tradurre
travel viaggiare
try provare
turn off spegnere
turn on accendere
type * scrivere al computer
understand capire
use usare
wait aspettare
wake up svegliarsi
want volere/desiderare
watch guardare
work lavorare
worry preoccuparsi
write scrivere



Best methods to learn the list of Italian words

Now that we’ve shown you the benefits of focusing on the common words, let’s go over the best methods to memorize them.



Anki is a digital flashcard creator that’s fairly popular in the language learning community. You can use it to create your own flashcards and its function goes beyond language learning. The user interface is not the most modern, but it gets the job done. Plus, you can use your phone, desktop, or tablet to learn.



Memrise has more friendly user interface for creating and reading digital flashcards. Our favorite part about Memrise is the ability to leverage the other digital flashcards that other community members have created. For common Italian words, you’ll find several flashcard collections you can choose from.




Of course, we couldn’t finish a guide about learning Italian without mentioning Rype. Our online learning marketplace allows you to connect with highly vetted professional Italian tutors online. They’ll learn about your needs, goals, and proficiency level to customize a lesson plan that’s personalized for you. Think of it as having a personal trainer for learning Italian or any other foreign language.

Best of all, you can try it for free today.



What’s next

If you’re ready to take the next step in learning Italian faster, we recommend you check out Rype.

You can book 1-on-1 Italian, English, French, Spanish lessons and more, with just one membership. For new members, we have a 7-day free trial offer for you to experience what it’s like, 100% risk-free.

Not convienced yet? Hear why students recommend Rype as the best way to learn Italian online.

We also recommend you check out our other free resources: