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
Pronunciation/abˈbjɔkko/

Abbiocco
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

More free Italian resources

You might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!

❤️ If you liked this lesson on the meaning of abbiocco in Italian, consider sharing it with your social media friends who are also studying Italian.