Italian Language/"avanti"


Hi Lauren,  

Can you please tell me if Italians use the adverb “avanti”  as a command  when telling someone who has knocked on their door   -   “come in”

Is the adverb "avanti" commonly used for anything other types of command?  

I was wondering because I just discovered an old Bill Wilder movie made in 1972 with the title "Avanti".  (I plan to watch it tonight)  I an trying to understand why a movie would be called "come in".

Thank you very much.



Hi Rich,

'Avanti' is quite a useful multifunctional word in Italian.

Its principle translation would indeed be as 'Come in' or 'Enter' but likewise it could also be used to state 'Off you go' (such as in a race), 'move along' (if muttered by the traffic police) or even 'go go go' if said with insistence and force.

As for the film's name, I have just found some billboard posters from the film and the tagline seems to be, 'When someone knocks on your door and says permesso, be careful before you say avanti.' Here, the word is being used in an ironic and metaphorical way which I imagine will lead into the plot of the film when perhaps an unwanted person enters the life of one of the main protagonists.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,

Italian Language

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Lauren O' Hagan


Although not my mother tongue, I have spoken Italian fluently for more than 12 years so I am very confident to answer any questions about the Italian language. I am also competent in Roman Dialect if there are any questions relating to this.


MA Applied Linguistics First Class Honours in Modern Language Studies (Linguistics, Italian, Spanish) Received the top grade in the whole of UK for GCSE Italian, receiving a letter of congratulations from the Italian Consulate Completed my two-year A Level in 1 year with a grade A country. Carried out many translation jobs for a wide range of clients and topics including self-help, literature and exam papers. For personal reference, I have also translated Federico Moccia's Tre Metri Sopra Il Cielo and 2 of Francesco Totti's book.

El Pensador, University of Bristol

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Letter of recognition from the Italian consulate MA Applied Linguistics BA Hons Modern Language Studies CELTA qualified C1 CILS C2 DELE

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