How exactly do you say butterfly in Italian?
As you will see in this lesson, there are many types of Italian butterflies. Read on to learn them all!
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How do you say butterfly in Italian?
Farfalla is how you say butterfly in Italian.
It is a feminine noun, so in its singular form it is preceded by the articles la (definite, the butterfly) and una (indefinite, a butterfly).
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Its pronunciation is similar to far-fahl-lah and it comes from the Latin word far-far, which is meant to evoke the sound butterflies make when they flap their wings. Make sure the final -a doesn’t have a -y quality, because Italian vowel sounds are clean!
Questo bruco diventerà una bellissima farfalla.
This caterpillar will become a beautiful butterfly.
La vita di una farfalla dura tre giorni.
The life of a butterfly is three days.
Marco afferrò la farfalla tra pollice e indice.
Marco caught the butterfly between his thumb and forefinger.
Farfalla, alongside farfallino, small butterfly, is also the Italian translation for bow-tie. It is so called because its shape resembles a butterfly! It can also be translated as papillon, from the French word for “butterfly”.
Farfallino is a masculine noun.
Literally: Small butterfly
A mio figlio piace indossare i papillon.
My son likes to wear bow ties.
Ho comprato un farfallino a pois rossi.
I bought a red polka dot bow tie.
The –one Italian suffix is used to make things bigger. In this sense, farfallone literally means big butterfly, but it actually translates to womanizer. This is because this type of partner has a tendency to “fly away” to other women.
The womanizer, the flirt
Literally: Big butterfly
Il mio ex era un vero farfallone.
My ex was a real flirt.
Con farfallone si intende un uomo che corteggia molte donne.
A “big butterfly” is defined as a man who flirts with many women.
Other words with butterfly in Italian
There are many adjectives that are used together with butterfly in Italian to describe it. Some of these are…
Night butterfly, moth
For example, you could say…
Una farfalla notturna continua a svolazzare attorno alla lampada.
A night butterfly keeps fluttering around the lamp.
Ho appena visto una farfalla stupenda sulla pianta di rose in giardino.
I have just seen a beautiful butterfly on the rose plant in the garden.
The antennae of a butterfly are called antenne, from the feminine singular word antenna.
The wings are called ali, from the feminine singular ala.
Le ali di una farfalla sono delicatissime.
The wings of a butterfly are very, very delicate.
Butterflies are born from caterpillars, bruchi, from the masculine bruco.
Un giorno questo bruco si trasformerà in una bellissima farfalla.
One day this caterpillar will turn into a beautiful butterfly.
When the metamorphosis (metamorfosi) occurs, they wrap themselves in a bozzolo, a cocoon.
I bruchi si trasformano in farfalle quando sono nel bozzolo.
Caterpillars turn into butterflies while they’re inside the cocoon.
Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!
Common verbs with butterfly in Italian
A butterfly in Italian can most often svolazzare, to fly about, or simply volare, to fly.
To fly about
La farfalla vola nell’aria e si posa sulla mano del bambino.
The butterfly flies through the air and rests on the child’s hand.
A butterfly in Italian can also sfarfallare, which means to flit about.
This verb is also used to translate to flicker when talking about dying lightbulbs.
To flit about
La luce sta sfarfallando. È ora di cambiare la lampadina.
The light is flickering. It’s time to change the bulb.
When it’s time for the bruco to come out of its cocoon, the verb uscire dal bozzolo, to come out of the cocoon, is used.
This verb is also used figuratively to describe very shy people who are doing something that requires some courage on their part, like going to a party.
Uscire dal bozzolo
To come out of the cocoon
Dovresti uscire un po’ dal bozzolo, Veronica, e divertirti un po’.
You should come out of the cocoon a little bit, Veronica, and have some fun.
People who like to hunt butterflies are called collezionisti, collectors. They hunt down butterflies with a retino, a net, also called acchiappafarfalle. To hunt is translated into Italian as cacciare or andare a caccia (to go hunting).
Andare a caccia di farfalle
To hunt butterflies
And that’s the end of our lesson on how to say butterfly in Italian!
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