My Italian Word of the Week - Mirare

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia

Photo Credit: State Library of South Australia

Mirare (v.)

v. (intransitive, mirare a) to take aim with a weapon
v. (transitive) to closely/carefully observe something or someone
v. fig. to aim for an objective or goal
definitions ;
conjugation Italian Verbs

Welcome to this week's installment of IWOW

In continuation with this week's firearms theme (you really should check out my Firearms Firsts post, perche quest'articolo e molto interessante), my word of the week is mirare. The most literal meaning of the word is to take aim at something or someone con un'arma di fuoco (un'arma = a weapon, fuoco = fire, convenient, sì?). To convey this meaning, mirare is used intransitively, as in you "aim something at some one," with the preposition "a" taking the place of "at." If I were to channel Nalini Singh's cacciatrice di vampiri (vampire huntress) for a moment, I would say Elena mira la sua balestra al cuore del vampiro (Elena aims her crossbow at the heart of the vampire).

Obviously, unless one plans on joining the Carabinieri (Italian police), this use of mirare isn't terribly useful. However, when used transitively (without the preposition a, to grossly oversimplify), mirare can mean to carefully observe something or someone.  Continuing with my Cacciatrice della Corporazione (Guild Hunter) theme, you can think of it thus: Elena mira il suo bersaglio (no a) translates to "Elena observes her target", whereas Elena mira al suo bersaglio (with a) translates to "Elena aims at her target (presumably with a gun or crossbow)"

Dulcis in fundo (you can probably tell I love this phrase), one can use mirare figuratively to mean taking aim at an objective or goal. Mirare al cielo is a song (video), literally means to aim at the sky, and is the figurative equivalent of the English phrase "shoot for the stars." Similarly, mirare alto or mirare in alto means to aim high or be ambitious. 

And thus concludes la mia prova di essere ambiziosa (my attempt to be ambitious) this week. 

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