If you’ve just ordered a delicious-looking and really very large coppa di gelato (ice cream cup) on a sunny summer afternoon in Italy, you may be tempted to say ‘che grande!’ – how big! But what if you wanted to mix it up and use a different word to describe the size of your gelato? 

 

How about ‘enorme’, which translates as enormous? 

 

Or what about ‘gigante’ or ‘gigantesco’? These translate as giant, gigantic or jumbo. Or even humungous or ginormous!

 

You could also use the word ‘abbondante’, which means plentiful or abundant.

 

Another option is to use ‘grosso’, which translates as large or big.

 

Here are some examples with these adjectives:

 

-       Che brioche con gelato enorme! What an enormous ice cream sandwich!

-       Questa granita al limone è così gigantesca! This lemon granita is so humungous!

-       Mamma mia, che gelato abbondante! Oh my, what a generous amount of ice cream!

-       Il cono al cioccolato è davvero grosso! The chocolate ice cream cone is really big!

 

Alternatively, you could use the suffix -one. This is when you modify the noun with the ending -one to express its huge size. 

 

-       Che gelatone! What a large ice cream!

 

 

As you can see, there are lots of options to use in the place of ‘grande’. 

 

Now let’s look at some expressions which use the word ‘big’ in English. These can sometimes catch you out as you’ll see that they do not necessarily use the word ‘grande’ in Italian. 

 

Big shot – pezzo grosso

To earn big money - guadagnare forte

Big bucks / big money – un sacco di soldi / tanti soldi

To make it big / to make the big time – avere successo / sfondare

To make a big name for oneself – farsi un nome

To talk big - darsi delle arie

To be too big for one’sboots / breeches - avere delle belle pretese/ tirarsela

 

Big mouth – lingua lunga

Big headed – presuntuoso / pieno di sé

Why don't you keep your big mouth shut! - ma perché non tieni chiusa quella boccaccia?

It's no big deal – (non) fa niente / non è un grosso problema / è una cosa da poco

 

 

And finally, how about a little joke with one of your Italian friends? These expressions are to be used ironically:

 

That's big of you! - che generosità! 

Big deal! - capirai! / e allora? / embé?

 

 

A little food for thought next time you use the word ‘grande’!