It’s the Anus of the Dragon!

Italian is a beautiful language. It’s the poetic craft of Dante, the musical prowess of Verdi, and the finicky language where it’s all too easy to say “anus” when you really meant to say “year“.

The Italian word for “anus” is ano while the word for “year” is anno. The only thing that sets these words apart is an extra “n”. I think these two words are recklessly similar, and the problem is not just with the spelling!

The Italian language has a double consonant pronunciation where you basically hold the consonant for a fraction of a second longer than usual. So, when speaking, if you don’t hold that “n” long enough, you’re in for an embarrassing treat!

It seems like a cruel joke aimed at foreigners that one of these double consonant words just happens to be the one for “year”, doesn’t it? It’s such a commonly used word. Oh, and let’s not forget that it’s easy to say “Can you please pick up a pack of penis at the stationery store while you’re out?” Only one little “n” differentiates the word “pens” (penne) from “penis” (pene).

C’mon guys! Anus and penis are among the words that I can easily biff up in Italian? Are you kidding me?!? I mean, couldn’t we have chosen less potentially dangerous words to be the counterpart of the much more innocent ones? I feel like I’m walking around on a linguistic minefield here!


21 thoughts on “It’s the Anus of the Dragon!

  1. And don’t forget the every present threat of ordering a calzone and forgetting to say the “l”. You’ve just ordered a BIG penis! And I can’t keep the words “tetto” and “tette” straight. I’m always petrified to talk about my roof for fear I’m going end up talking about my tits! But you’re right, anno/ano takes the cake! Imagine wishing someone happy New Year (Buon Anno) and having it sound like “Nice anus!” instead!

  2. Your explanation of anus and penis are certainly funny but the Italian language holds many more “dangers”. Many years ago a dear friend of mine, a famous Italian-American writer, was dining with friends in Sardegna when she exclaimed ” what a lovely vagina I have”….in reality what she should have said was “what a lovely fig I have”, as they were eating figs with prosciuto. …The Italian word for fig is fico (plural fichi) and the slang word for vagina is fica (plural fiche)…It’s all in the last vowel and can be very embarassing!.

  3. Haha, I hope I haven’t been walking around pronouncing things incorrectly. I don’t think my Italian is good enough overall for them to think I’d do it on purpose. 🙂

  4. Hi Garrett
    Here’s my favourite….at the local italian caffe here in Vancouver, i like to order a ‘non vale la pena’ and they know i’m asking for a decaf skim caffe latte. my friend went in there without me, trying to order my drink, and asked for a ‘non vale il pene’. so we went from ‘it’s not worth the effort’ to ‘the penis isn’t worthy’. I had a good laugh when the barista told me about it-and my friend, luckily, didn’t realize the mistake she had made at the time-she would have been mortificata!

    • Whoa! That’s a good one!

      I’m surprised that the barista actually understood your friend’s mistake though. Was he/she Italian?

      I mean, I don’t think your average coffee bar worker in Canada or the USA would really even pick up on that.

  5. Hahahah! When you’re italian you can’t realize what kind of trap italian has for strangers! I’m laughing on the sofa like an idiot right now!
    Sorry for my English, I know it’s bad… Ciao bello!

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