How do you say SHEEP in Italian?

How exactly do you say sheep in Italian?

In this lesson, we will take a look at the behavior of a sheep in Italian and you will even learn some expressions featuring this word. Read on to learn them all!


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How do you say sheep in Italian?


Pecora is how you say sheep into Italian.

La pecora
The sheep

happy sheep with thick wool - how do you say sheep in italian

It is a feminine noun, so it uses the articles la (definite, the sheep), and una (indefinite, a sheep).

Una pecora
A sheep

Delle pecore
Some sheep

La pecora
The sheep

Le pecore
The sheep

Its pronunciation is similar to peh-koh-rah and it comes from the Latin pecŏra. Make sure the final -a doesn’t have a -w quality, because Italian vowel sounds are clean!

Mattia non ha mai tosato una pecora.
Mattia has never sheared a sheep.

Lo zio di Tom alleva molte pecore.
Tom’s uncle has many sheep.

Paola decise di avviare un allevamento di pecore.
Paola decided to start a sheep farm.


The male sheep in Italian is called montone, ram, and it’s a masculine noun.

Un montone
A ram

Dei montoni
Some rams

Il montone
The ram

I montoni
The rams

Il montone
The ram, male sheep

ram - male sheep - montone

Un maschio adulto di pecora è chiamato montone.
An adult male sheep is called a ram.


Agnello is the Italian translation for lamb. It is a masculine word. When people want to emphasize how cute and innocent a baby lamb or a person looks, they use the expression essere (come) un agnellino, literally meaning to be (like) a little lamb.

The lamb

The little lamb
Literally: Little lamb

Essere come un agnellino
To be a sweetheart, to be very innocent and gentle
Literally: To be like a little lamb

face of a lamb

Per Pasqua si mangia l’agnello arrosto.
Roast lamb is eaten for Easter.

L’agnello seguì Mary a scuola.
The lamb followed Mary to school.

Marco è davvero un agnellino, non farebbe male a una mosca.
Marco is really a sweetheart; he wouldn’t hurt a fly.

The life of a sheep in Italian


Wool, la lana, is obtained from the shearing (la tosatura) of the sheep.

La lana

La tosatura
The shearing

Tosatura comes from the verb tosare, meaning to shear.

To shear

Queste muffole in lana d’alpaca sono morbide e calde.
These alpaca wool mittens are soft and warm.

La mia maglia è di lana.
My shirt is made of wool.

Non ho mai tosato una pecora.
I have never shorn a sheep.

freshly shorn sheep

Flock of sheep

Sheep move in a flock, gregge. It is a masculine noun.

Il gregge
The flock

You can also say il gregge di pecore, the flock of sheep.

Queste nuvole bianche mi ricordano un gregge di pecore.
These white clouds remind me of a flock of sheep.

Un gregge di pecore pascolava nei campi.
A flock of sheep was grazing in the fields.

The correct spelling is GREGGE, not GREGGIE!

Contrary to what you might infer from the singular noun gregge, which is masculine, the plural form of gregge is actually feminine. It’s le greggi, not i greggi.

Gregge also appears in the expression immunità di gregge, herd immunity.

L’immunità di gregge
Herd immunity

La percentuale di persone che devono avere gli anticorpi per garantire l’immunità di gregge varia da malattia a malattia.
The percentage of people who must have antibodies in order to provide herd immunity varies from disease to disease.

herd immunity - people holding hands around the globe


Pastore is how you translate shepherd in Italian.

Il pastore
The shepherd

Il pastore condusse le pecore nella valle.
The shepherd herded the sheep through the valley.

I pastori condussero le greggi di pecore sulla montagna.
The shepherds led the flocks of sheep up to the mountain.

shepherd with a small sheep

Herding dogs are called cani da pastore, from the singular cane da pastore, literally shepherd dog.

Il cane da pastore
The herding dog

I border collie sono ottimi cani da pastore.
Border collies are excellent herding dogs.

Common verbs with sheep in Italian

A sheep in Italian can most often belare, bleat. The noun belato, bleating, is derived from this verb.

To bleat

La pecora sta belando.
The sheep is bleating.

Il belato
The bleating

A sheep in Italian can also pascolare, which means to graze.

To graze

Le pecore stavano pascolando nel prato.
The sheep were grazing in the meadow.

You can also milk a sheep, mungere una pecora, if you want milk. Sheep milk is called latte di pecora.

To milk

Il latte di pecora
Sheep milk

Questo formaggio è prodotto con latte di pecora.
This cheese is made with sheep’s milk.

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Words and expressions featuring the sheep in Italian

Sheep are a symbol of being meek, so you will often hear the expression essere una pecora, to be a sheep, to address someone who lacks courage.

Essere una pecora
To be a sheep

If you have trouble falling asleep, you can try counting sheep, contare le pecore.

Contare le pecore
To count sheep

girl counting sheep to fall asleep

Family members who are considered a disgrace to the family tree are called pecore nere, from the singular pecora nera. The expression essere una pecora nera, to be a black sheep, is used to refer to people who are not well regarded by other family members.

Essere una pecora nera
To be a black sheep

Sono la pecora nera della famiglia.
I’m the black sheep of the family.

If someone loses their bearings and doesn’t know what to do in life and needs advice, you can use the expression essere una pecorella smarrita, which means to to be a lost little sheep.

Essere una pecorella smarrita
To be a lost sheep

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 a day as a lion than a hundred years as a sheep

And that’s the end of our lesson on how to say sheep in Italian!

What next?

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