Meaning of ABBIOCCO in Italian

Abbiocco in Italian

In Italy, abbiocco is that drowsy or sleepy feeling that often comes after a big meal, especially one that’s rich in carbohydrates. The feeling can be so intense that it might make you want to take a nap, pisolino or pennichella. It has no direct translation into English and it’s a colloquial term. The scientific term to describe the feeling is sonnolenza post-prandiale.

OriginIt’s believed to have its roots in the word chioccia which means “broody hen” in Italian, because of its huddled position to hatch eggs

Drowsy and sleepy feeling after a big meal

a hen with three chicks

Abbiocco in Italian: Examples

Quando mangio un piatto di pasta per pranzo ho sempre un abbiocco terribile.
When I eat a plate of pasta for lunch, I am always terribly drowsy.

Il caldo estivo mi fa venire l’abbiocco.
The summer heat gives me food coma.

Anche un pasto leggero può causare un piccolo abbiocco.
Even a light meal can cause a small bout of drowsiness.

We said that abbiocco likely originated from chioccia, and the same can be said for the verb abbioccarsi, a reflexive verb in Italian that means to become drowsy or to feel sleepy, to doze off. This verb means “to become a brooding hen” and it originates from the Roman dialect verb abbioccàsse.

Like abbiocco, it’s only used in colloquial settings. For example, you can say:

Mi sono abbioccato durante la lezione di storia.
I dozed off during history class.

More often than not, however, abbiocco is used instead of the verb:

Se dormi poco, rischi di avere un abbiocco sul lavoro.
If you get little sleep, you risk dozing off at work.

drowsy woman at work

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