What does Boh mean | Italian Words Explained


Discover the quintessentially Italian interjection boh—a versatile expression for uncertainty, indifference, or reluctance. Master the art of non-committal with our guide to living la vita boh! 🇮🇹🤷‍♂️

  • Embrace the ambiguity: Boh is your go-to for those “I haven’t got a clue” moments. It’s Italy’s casual shrug packed into a single syllable. 🤔
  • Express indifference: When decisions feel meh, boh is your verbal shoulder shrug. It’s the perfect non-answer to “What movie should we watch?” 🎬🙄
  • Convey reticence: Not keen on diving into details? Boh can elegantly sidestep prying questions without the awkwardness. 🚫🗣️
  • Adopt the gesture: Pair boh with the iconic chin thrust and arm spread—it’s like speaking Italian without saying a word! 🇮🇹👐
  • Live the boh life: Embrace uncertainty with a carefree boh. Whether it’s about your capabilities or facing failure, let boh be your chill pill. 😌💊

My thoughts

What’s the meaning of boh? Is it even a real Italian word?

Well, you could consider it as such, although it would be fairer to call it an interjection – an exclamation used to express sudden emotions, like: “Ouch!” or “Hey!”.

For many Italians, boh is such an instinctive reaction that they use it even when speaking in other languages, confusing everyone else.

So, what should you deduce when you hear someone saying it? Let’s find out!

How do you use Boh in Italian? | Dunno in Italian

The meaning of boh is easily explained: boh is the most informal way to say “I don’t know” in Italian. It’s kind of like when we say “dunno.”

A: “Dove sarà Grazia ora?” B: “Boh. L’ultima volta che l’ho sentita viveva a Berlino”

A: “I wonder where Grazia is now” B:” Dunno. Last time I’ve heard from her, she was living in Berlin.”

Boh can also mean “I don’t care” or “I don’t want to talk about it” – always in a conversational way. More generally, it means that the speaker is feeling some kind of indifference or reticence.

A: “Che film vuoi vedere stasera?” B: “Boh… tu hai qualche idea?”

A: “Which movie do you want to see tonight?” B: “I have no preference. Do you have any ideas?”

“Boh… io ti ho dato il mio consiglio, ora fai come ti pare.”

“Dunno… I’ve given you my advice, now do what you want.”

Italians even have a gesture to say boh. It consists of thrusting the chin forward and pulling the lips down while opening the arms. Surely you’ve seen this before in some movie or in real life.

YouTube video player

Living the Boh Life

The meaning of boh wraps so many words and emotions into one single syllable – how awesome is that?

And it has such a peaceful sound….

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

Boh isn’t just a word, interjection, or whatever – it’s a way of life:

  • Am I good enough for this? Boh…I’ll find out as I go.
  • What happens if I fail? Boh…but I’ll get through it!
  • “When will the next post come ou… – no, wait! This example doesn’t fit. 😀

I’ll be back very soon to teach you new Italian words, so don’t forget to check this blog. See you next time!

Learn more about the Italian word Tesoro.

What does "boh" mean in Italian?

"Boh" is an interjection used to express sudden emotions, and it is the most informal way to say "I don't know" in Italian. It can also mean "I don't care" or "I don't want to talk about it" in a conversational way.

Is there a gesture associated with saying "boh" in Italian?

Yes, there is a gesture that consists of thrusting the chin forward, pulling the lips down, and opening the arms.

Italian word of the day
Hai voglia di fare una passeggiata?
Do you feel like going for a walk?
Follow me to fluency​

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free courses and other resources.

Leave a Reply

Take a free lesson today!

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lessons and other resources.

I’ll also deliver my free resources my best offers to your mailbox (opt out at any time).

Top 1000 most common Italian words: the ultimate list! But... how to learn them? Not with flashcards! The smartest way is to put the most used words in context!
Origins and meaning of “la dolce vita” “La dolce vita” was originally a movie by Federico Fellini and Ennio Flaiano. The movie starred Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg as journalist...
Do you know what bella ciao, grazie mille, or arrivederci means? If you have friends that like Italian culture, you may have heard these phrases a thousand times. But what...
Embark on a hilarious exploration of “The Funniest Italian Words.” From comical phrases to peculiar expressions, join us on a linguistic adventure that will tickle your funny bone. Get ready...
Try my courses for free​
Log in

Reset password or get in touch.

Not a member yet? Join today!

How long to fluency?

Find out how long it will take you to master Italian!
Get on the right track in 3 minutes.

dolce vita logo

We're already friends!

Coming from Luca and Marina?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
all language resources

We're already friends!

Coming from All Language Resources?
Here's a special deal for you!
Just tell me where I should send the coupon.

50% OFF
50% OFF

To receive free resources once a week together with my best offers, just tell me where to send everything. Opt out at any time.

Create a free lifetime account to get access to all the free lesson and other resources.