Buonanotte meaning and pronunciation in Italian

What’s the meaning of buonanotte, also spelled as buona notte, in Italian?

As you will see in this lesson, there’s more than one scenario where you can use this word. We will take a look at its different meanings and see how it is pronounced. Hopefully this lesson won’t make you sleepy (read on and you’ll see why)! 😉

Let’s start! Iniziamo!


Buonanotte meaning and pronunciation

Buonanotte is the Italian translation for good night.

It’s a compound word. That’s why you can also write it as buona notte, with buona meaning good and notte translating night.

meaning of buonanotte - good night in italian - boy sleeping soundly in a bed with light blue covers

So, how do you pronounce it?

Buonanotte, buona notte
Good night

Its pronunciation is similar to boo-oh-nah not-teh. Make sure your t has a longer sound than a t as in “attack” (see how to pronounce all Italian consonant clusters here), and remember not to add an -y sound to the final -e. Italian vowel sounds are clean.

If you are lazy enough, you can cut the buona out of the formula and just say…

‘notte!
‘ night!


Buona notte e sogni d’oro

Buona notte e sogni d’oro
Good night and sweet dreams

When Italians wish someone a good night, they say buona notte e sogni d’oro, which literally translates to good night and golden dreams.

You read that right: it’s golden dreams (oro is gold), not sweet dreams. Sweet is translated in Italian as dolce, but we don’t usually wish people dolci sogni.

sogni d'oro - kid sleeping and dreaming of fighting godzilla

It’s customary for family members to wish a good night to everyone living under their same roof. To wish in Italian is desiderare, from desiderio, wish or desire, but the expression to wish a good night in Italian translates somewhat differently.

Dare la buonanotte
To wish a good night
Literally: to give a good night

The expression is actually introduced by the verb dare, meaning to give!

If you have small kids and are used to giving them a kiss goodnight when they are going to bed, you can say:

Dare il bacio della buonanotte
To give a kiss goodnight
Literally: to give the kiss of good night

Aiuta Lingookies con un 👍!


Other meanings of buonanotte in Italian

Are there other meanings to buona notte other than good night? Yes.

Buonanotte al secchio!
It’s all over! And that’s that!
Literally: good night to the bucket!

Buona notte al secchio is a colloquial expression that can be literally translated as “good night to the bucket”, with secchio meaning bucket.

it's all over - kid crying because he cannot solve a problem

If a project of yours is doomed to fail or there’s no way out of a problem, you can use this expression to vent your pessimism. By saying buona notte al secchio, you’re essentially saying there’s nothing left for you to do but watch as everything crumbles.

Buonanotte ai suonatori!
It’s all over! And that’s that!
Literally: good night to the players!

This is another common expression that is similar to buonanotte al secchio. Suonatore is someone who plays a musical instrument. The origin of this saying is debated, but it has the same meaning of the one above.

Did you know? There’s a song by Pooh called Buonanotte ai suonatori!

Now that we’ve covered all possible meanings of buona notte in Italian, you can put your skills to the test and wish a buona notte to your family and friends!


What next?

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

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