How to say “by accident” in Italian

Meaning of the English idiom

“By accident” is used as a synonym for “unintentionally”.


How do you say by accident in Italian?

You translate by accident in Italian as per errore. It has a negative nuance.

Per errore
By accident

The idiom can be broken down as follows:

  • per (for, by)
  • errore (mistake)

So per errore literally means “by mistake”.

If we had to translate this English idiom literally, we would say per incidente, but that makes no sense to an Italian native speaker!

drawing of a boy hitting a woman by accident with a bicycle

For example, you could say…

Ho buttato per errore la pasta nella pattumiera e ora non so cosa mangiare.
I threw the pasta in the dustbin by mistake and I don’t know what to eat now.

Siamo finiti per errore in una strada a senso unico e abbiamo preso una multa.
We drove into a one-way street by mistake and got a fine.


What next?

Now that you’ve seen how to say by accident in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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