What does Boh mean | Italian words explained

boh meaning
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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 to use boh in italian

How do you use Boh 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.

Living the Boh Life

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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….

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!

boh italian gesture2

Still translating in your head? Wanna speak Italian for real? Check out Stefano's courses to think directly in Italian and become fluent fast!


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