Italian Language/Meaning of 'grande'


Cara Maria

I was re-listening to my Pimseleur lessons and was reminded that 'grande' means not just big/large but also 'grown up'.  On checking the dictionary I see it also means 'great'.  Is this in the sense of being 'of a great size' or in the sense 'this is so good, it's actually great'?

Grazie mille,


the adjective "grande" can have different meanings, according to the context.

So, it can mean:

1)“big/large“ as in e.g. “Un grande fiume”(a big / large  river); “La mia camera è molto  grande “( my room is very large / big); “E’ grande  il tuo giardino?” ( Is your garden big?); “Il suo maglione mi va  grande”( his sweater is large for me); “Queste scarpe sono troppo grandi “ (these shoes are too big/ large); “Fu un  grande errore “ (it was a big mistake),  etc.

2)“large/ vast / great” as in “ Sono una  grande famiglia” ( they're a large family); “C'era una  gran folla al concerto” (there was a large / vast crowd at the concert; “Un  grande esercito” ( a large army ); ”Un grande  amore” (a great  love); “Una grande  gioia” ( a great joy); “E’ una grande  opportunità per lui “ ( it's a great opportunity for him); “Giacomo Leopardi è uno dei più grandi poeti italiani” (Giacomo Leopardi  is one of the greatest Italian poets);  “E’ stato  un gran giorno” ( it was a great day); “Il Cinquecento fu l'epoca delle grandi scoperte” (The sixteenth century was  the era of the great discoveries), etc.

3)"grown up" as in “Egli ha due figlie grandi” (he's got two grown-up daughters); “Racconti per grandi e piccini,” (tales for grown-ups and children), etc.

4)”great“ in the sense of being "of a great size" as in “Queste scarpe sono di una misura più grande” (these shoes are a size  too big) ; “Questi pantaloni sono troppo grandi”, etc.
Also, in the sense 'this is so good, it's actually great'- often  in  the colloquial language- as in “Grande! E’ davvero fantastico!” (Great!  That's really great!)

5)"high / tall” as in “Una  grande montagna” ( a high mountain);  “La strada raggiunge grandi altezze” ( the road climbs to great heights); Era un uomo grande  e grosso” ( He was  a big tall man);”A grande  velocità” ( at high speed ), etc.

Hope this is clear enough. Feel free however to ask me again.

Cordiali saluti.

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