Italian Language Blog

Objects Made from Body Parts Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

A couple of weeks ago, when I was helping Geoff with our article Mixed Up Body Parts!, I was sitting on the sofa with my arm resting on the armrest, and the word il bracciolo (the armrest) came into my mind. I thought to myself: “Il bracciolo obviously has its roots in the word braccio (arm), I wonder how many other objects take their names from parts of the body” Well, here’s a blog listing the most common ones.

Objects which take their names from:

la bocca = the mouth
il boccaporto (masc. sing; plural i boccaporti) = the hatchway 
il bocchettone (masc. sing.; plural i bocchettoni) = the pipe union

il braccio = the arm
il braccialetto (masc. sing.; plural i braccialetti) = the bracelet
il bracciolo (masc. sing.; plural i braccioli) = the armrest

due braccialetti Romani – two Roman bracelets, part of the horde uncovered at Hoxne, England in 1992 Photo: (CC) by

il collo = the neck
la collana (fem. sing.; plural le collane) = the necklace
il colletto (masc. sing.; plural i colletti) = the collar (in shirts)
il collare (masc. sing.; plural i collari) = the collar (for animals)

il dito = the finger
il ditale (masc. sing.; plural i ditali) = the thimble

la gamba = the leg
il gambaletto (masc. sing.; plural i gambaletti) = knee socks

la guancia = the cheek
il guanciale (masc. sing.; plural i guanciali) = the pillow

la mano = the hand
le manette (fem. plural) = the handcuffs
il manico (masc. sing.; plural i manici) = the handle
il manoscritto (masc. sing.; plural i manoscritti) = the manuscript
la manovella (fem. sing.; plural le manovelle) = the crank

la manovella – the crank (author unknown)

l’occhio = the eye
gli occhiali (masc. plural) = the glasses/spectacles
l’occhiello (masc. sing.; plural gli occhielli) = the buttonhole (also called l’asola)

l’orecchio = the ear
l’orecchino (masc. sing.; plural gli orecchini) = the earing

il piede = the foot
il marciapiede (masc. sing.; plural i marciapiedi) = the pavement
il piedistallo (masc. sing.; plural i piedistalli) = the pedestal

il polso = the wrist
il polsino (masc. sing.; plural i polsini) = the cuff

la schiena = the back
lo schienale (masc. sing.; plural gli schienali) = the back (of a chair)

la spalla = the shoulder
la spalletta (fem. sing., plural le spallette) = the parapet
la spallina (fem. sing.; plural le spalline) = the epaulette; the shoulder strap

Che bel paio di spalline! what a lovely pair of epaulettes. Oscar II of Sweden (Public Domain) 

la testa = the head
la testiera (fem. sing.; plural le testiere) = the headboard

il viso = the face
la visiera (fem. sing.; plural le visiere) = the visor

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  1. Laurel:

    Your title frightened me just a little. 🙂

    Great list!

  2. Guest:

    How about-
    “Non sguanciare. ”
    “Don’t loose your cheeks. ”
    Used to remind people not to “eat like a bird”

    • Serena:

      @Guest Salve Janet, thank you for your comment. I’m not familiar with the expression ‘non sguanciare’, it sounds very interesting. Maybe it’s a regional expression. Where did you learn it? However, my post was specifically about objects, not verb, adjectives or abstract ideas.
      Saluti da Serena

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