My Italian Word of the Week - Giusto

DVD - La Ragazza di Fuoco - - Universal (C)

DVD - La Ragazza di Fuoco - - Universal (C)

Giusto (adj., adv., n.m.)

adj. just, fair, impartial
adj. legitimate, righteous
adj. correct, true
adv. exactly, precisely, on point
adv. just (recently)
n.m. the "right"

definitions ;

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW.


So you probably noticed the new theme in my Italian Word of the Week posts. Ever since my classes ended, it's been a struggle to maintain the language, especially when it comes to listening comprehension. So I decided to link these posts to a movie trailer, allowing me to get a few minutes of deciphering spoken Italian in every week. 

This week's word is giusto, which you can see has a plethora of uses. For explanations of the adverb and noun forms, you can mosey on to the above-linked WordReference post. Today, I'm going focus on its use as an adjective.

Giusto is a cognate to the English adjective "just" and is used similarly to indicate a sense of fairness. For example, Il giudice e severo ma giusto means "the judge/prosecutor is severe but just/fair." By the way, judges and prosecutors in Italy are interchangeable, and they are both called giudiceGiusto can also mean "morally good/right", as in Credo che sia giusto andare da loro, which means I think it would be good/right to go to their place. 

I most commonly heard this word as part of the sentence (tu) Sei giusto  (you are right/correct) or E giusto (it's right/correct), and in my mind there's a connotation of precision or exactness to the word. Vorrei trovare la parola giusta per spiegare i miei pensieri (I would like to find the right word to explain my thoughts) is a stalling tactic I may have used once or twice in class.

On that note, let's check out the trailer for Hunger Games: La Ragazza di Fuoco (there is a tie-in to this word, I promise). 

Okay, I'll admit to needing to watch the English trailer before I was able to decipher the first 10 seconds. I'll tell you why it was so difficult in just a sec. 

Katniss: Qualsiasi cosa farò si ritorcera su di te and su di mama, e io non voglio.

So the reason I couldn't understand it (aside from the speed), was because I had never come across the reflexive verb ritorcersi before today. I looked it up, and it means "to backfire." Qualsiasi cosa is equivalent to the English "Whatever." Farò is the first person future tense of fare, the verb "to do." Su means "on". Te is the direct object pronoun for tu (you). Mama means "Mom" (thank goodness for cognates!), and voglio is the first person present tense form of the irregular volere, the verb "to want." Put that all together, and we get: Whatever I will do will backfire on you and on mom, and I don't want (it).  

Ready for the next sentences?  

Prim: Dagli ultimi Hunger Games, qualcosa e cambiato. Lo vedo. 
Katniss: Che cosa vedi?
Prim: Speranza

If you've been following these posts, you'd know that vedere is the verb "to see." Vedo is the first person present tense conjugation, and vedi is the second person informal present tense conjugation. Ultimo (adj.) means "last/most recent". Qualcosa means "something" while che cosa means "what (thing)". Yes, if you're wondering, cosa is the Italian equivalent of "thing." From here, you just need cambiare, which is the verb "to change", and it's used in the past tense in this case. Last but not least, speranza is the noun "hope."

Put it all together, and you get: Since the last Hunger Games, something changed. I see it. What do you see? Hope. 

Still with me. I'm stopping at the 0.45 mark, don't worry. We're almost there.

Peeta: Ci hai salvati. Lo so. Ma sono stanco di recitare per le telecamere, per puoi ignorarci nella vita reale. 

This is a bit easier. Once you know Ci means "us," it's easy to guess Ci hai salvati means "You saved us." Lo so means "I know it." Lo is "it", and so is the first person present tense conjugation of sapere, the verb "to know." Ma means "but", recitare is the verb "to act," and you're just going to have to trust me when I say ignorarci (a combination of ignorare and the direct object ci) translates to "ignore each other."

Since the rest of the words are cognates, we can put it all together as: You saved us. I know. But I am tired of acting for the cameras, to then ignore each other in real life. 

All right. Last set of phrases (and now you'll know why I picked giusto). 

President Snow: Lei non e quello che credono. Deve essere eliminata. 
Plutarch Heavensbee: Certo ma nel modo giusto. Al momento giusto. 

Lei in this case means "she," though it can also be used as the formal form of "you." Quello che translates to "what." Credono is the third person plural present tense conjugation of credere, the verb "to think." Deve is the third person present tense conjugation of dovere, the verb "must." Essere is the verb "to be", which you've already seen in the first person (sono), second person informal (sei),  and third person (è). And, modo means "way," leaving us with cognates. 

Putting all those words together, we get: She isn't what they think (she is). She must be eliminated. Certainly, but in the right way. At the right moment.

And thus concludes my attempt this week to keep my Italian fresh. 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