How do you say LION in Italian?

How exactly do you say lion in Italian?

In this lesson, we will take a look at the different body parts of a lion in Italian and you will even learn a few expressions featuring this word. Read on to learn them all!


Let’s start! Iniziamo!

How do you say lion in Italian?


Leone is how you translate lion into Italian.

Il leone
The lion

lion staring straight at reader

It is a masculine noun, so it uses the articles il (definite, the lion), and un (indefinite, a lion).

Un leone
A lion

Dei leoni
Some lions

Il leone
The lion

I leoni
The lions

Its pronunciation is similar to leh-oh-neh and it comes from the Latin leonem, “lion”. Make sure the final -e doesn’t have a -y quality, as Italian vowel sounds are clean!

Il leone è usato come simbolo di coraggio.
The lion is used as a symbol of courage.

Il leone aprì la sua enorme bocca e ruggì.
The lion opened its huge mouth and roared.

Il leone e la tigre sono due specie diverse di felini.
The lion and the tiger are two different species of cat.


The female lion in Italian is called leonessa, lioness, and it’s a feminine noun.

Una leonessa
A lioness

Delle leonesse
Some lionesses

La leonessa
The lioness

Le leonesse
The lionesses

La leonessa
The lioness

female lion - how do you say lion in italian

Le leonesse si avvicinarono alla giraffa.
The lionesses got close to the giraffe.

Una leonessa stava riposando all’ombra.
A lioness was resting in the shade.


The lion cub can be translated into Italian with two different words: leoncino, which makes use of the -ino diminutive suffix meaning small lion, and cucciolo di leone, literally lion cub.

Both of these are masculine words.

Il leoncino
The lion cub
Literally: Small lion

Il cucciolo di leone
The lion cub

face of a lion cub

Allo zoo è nato un nuovo leoncino.
A new lion cub was born at the zoo.

Le leonesse si prendono cura dei cuccioli del branco.
Lionesses care for the cubs in the pride.

The life and body of a lion in Italian


The mane, which is a male lion’s most characteristic trait, is called criniera in Italian.

La criniera
The mane

Solo i leoni maschi hanno la criniera.
Only male lions have manes.


Then we have the tail, which is translated as coda.

La coda
The tail

La coda del leone termina con un piccolo ciuffo scuro di pelo.
The lion’s tail ends in a small dark tuft of fur.

lizard lozing its tail to flee

Artigli, zanne

Lions have sharp claws and fangs. Respectively, these are called artigli and zanne in Italian, with artiglio and zanna being the singular forms.

The claw

La zanna
The fang

Fangs can also be called fauci, especially when these fangs belong to an animal big enough to eat you up! You will never hear it in the singular.

Le fauci
The fangs

tiger with sharp fangs - how do you say lion in italian


In their natural habitat, lions move in prides, branchi, from the singular word branco. It is a masculine noun.

Il branco
The pride

Branco is also used to translate the English herd or pack, as in branco di lupi which means pack of wolves.

Common verbs with lion in Italian

A lion in Italian can most commonly ruggire, roar. The noun ruggito, also roar, is derived from this verb.

To roar

Il ruggito
The roar

Il leone ruggisce e la gazzella fugge.
The lion roars and the gazelle flees.

Si dice che il ruggito del leone si senta a chilometri di distanza.
The roar of the lion is said to be heard from miles away.

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!

A lion in Italian can also cacciare prede, meaning to hunt preys.

To hunt

Di solito sono le leonesse che cacciano, mentre i leoni dormono.
Usually it is the lionesses who hunt while the lions sleep.

When lions eat their preys up, the verb sbranare, to tear to pieces or to chew up, is used. You can also use divorare, to devour.

To tear to pieces, to chew up

To devour

Il leone divorò la povera zebra.
The lion devoured the poor zebra.

lion devouring a zebra

Words and expressions featuring the lion in Italian

Lions are a symbol of courage, so you will often hear the expression avere un coraggio da leone, to have the courage of a lion.

Avere un coraggio da leone
To have the courage of a lion

protagonists of the wizard of oz

Leone is also the name for the Leo constellation in Italian. Italian star signs take on the name of the animals themselves whenever possible.

Then there are the plants called bocca di leone, the snapdragon, and the dente di leone, the dandelion. These can be literally translated as “lion mouth” and “lion tooth”.

La bocca di leone
The snapdragon

Il dente di leone
The dandelion

I’ll wrap up this lesson with a very common saying in Italian:

Meglio vivere un giorno da leone, che cento anni da pecora
Better to be a leader than a follower
Literally: Better one day as a lion than one hundred years as a sheep

And that’s it, now you know how to say lion in Italian!

What next?

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

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