My Italian Word of the Week - Girare



v. to turn, spin, circle
v. fig. to shoot a film
v. fig. to roam, wander, tour, travel

from Word Reference

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW

Girare might seem like an odd word to pick, but I thought it's time for me to choose a verb. I'll segue into grammar for a moment and tell you that girare is a regular, first conjugation verb, which basically means it falls under the "simplest to learn" category. Of course, I have since discovered, having just started by lesson on the conjuntivo, that the word simple will never be appropriate for describing the Italian language. As a side note, giro is the noun derived from girare. For cycling fans, the Giro D'Italia is the Italian equivalent of the Tour de France.

Girare can be used to mean "turn", such as turning a handle, turning a key, or circling the block. However, I've seen more instances of its figurative uses than its literal ones. Most notable are the following:

1. Girare un film/Girare un vide: To shoot a film or movie (this can be attributed to my preference of reading gossip rags over actual news articles).

2. Ho girato (1st person, past tense) la Italia: To tour/ travel a country (this can be attributed to my preference of reading travel magazines to actual news articles).

3. Ho girato il caffe: To stir coffee (this might be the most relevant to my future life).

In addition to figurative uses of girare, there are also a number of idiomatic expressions that use this verb.

Far girare la testa means to make one's head spin. It can be used when referencing an attractive man or woman, La ragazza ha fatto girare la testa a X (the girl made X's head spin), or when referencing a chaotic/lively place such as a shopping mall or market, Da far girare la testa.

Girare a vuoto, which is the equivalent of "spinning one's wheels" or "going around in circles," will probably be an apt description of my future experience in Italy, where it apparently will take us 3 months to set up an internet connection.

Girare sui tacchi, which is the equivalent of "to turn tail/turn one's heels/leave" and/or "doing anabout-face/changing one's mind" would be an act I might consider if my husband does not find a way to provide me internet access in some other fashion (I love him dearly, but 3 months???).

Dulcis in fundo (last but not least), there's il girare il mondo (vagabonding/globe trotting). For example, it's safe to say il lavoro di mio marito mi fa girare il mondo (my husband's job makes me globe trot).

Ciao, tutti! Ci si vede il giovedì prossimo. (Good-bye all! See you again next Thursday.)

Disclaimer: I am writing this as a student of Italian. If there is anyone out there who would like to add to or correct my posts, please leave a comment.


Tara Quan

Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, she enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Visit Tara at