How to Say Eggplant in Italian | Learn Italian Words


Discover the Italian culinary world through its love affair with eggplant! Learn the essential Italian term for this versatile veggie and how to navigate Italian menus with confidence. Plus, uncover a quirky trivia about Italian-American slang!

  • Master the Menu: Knowing the word melanzana (eggplant) can transform your Italian dining experience from confusing to mouth-watering. 🍆
  • Embrace the Culture: Italians respect when you try to speak their language. Drop a melanzana at a restaurant and watch the smiles you get! 😊
  • Italian Insults: While melanzana was once an Italian-American jibe, in Italy, you’re more likely to be called a salame (clumsy) or testa di rapa (turnip-head) among friends. 🤪
  • Foodie’s Delight: Eggplant stars in dishes like Caponata and Pasta alla Norma. Don’t miss out by not knowing the lingo! 🍝
  • Conversation Starter: Use your new vocab to bond with locals over a shared love of food. Asking about melanzane ripiene (stuffed eggplants) can lead to delightful exchanges. 🗣️

My thoughts

Eggplant is an essential ingredient in many Italian dishes, especially those from Southern Italy.

There’s Caponata, Pasta alla Norma, and eggplant parmigiana… but also baked stuffed eggplant, eggplant meatballs, burgers, and lots of pizza toppings.

In short, you are spoiled for choice, but if you go to a restaurant without knowing how to say eggplant in Italian, you will have to hope that the waiter speaks English.

This isn’t always possible. Besides, Italians really appreciate it when tourists know a little bit of their language.

So, here’s the Italian word for eggplant.

The Italian Word for Eggplant

While this berry has lots of English names (e.g.: guinea squash, aubergine, brinjal, etc.), there is only one Italian word for eggplant: melanzana [IPA: /me.lanˈt͡ – with an accent on the third sillable]. It is a feminine singular noun, and its plural form is melanzane.

A: “Ehi nonna, che c’è per cena?” B: “Oggi ho fatto le melanzane ripiene al forno.”

A: “Hey grandma, what’s up for dinner?” B: “Today, I made baked stuffed eggplants.”


Did you know that, in Italian-American slang, the word melanzana also used to be an insult? It was used to call someone a dummy, as though “eggplant-head”.

In Italy, on the other hand, it is very rare to hear such an insult. If Italians want to call you a dummy, they’ll probably say “salame!” or “testa di rapa(“turnip-head”).

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The first one can also be used to call someone clumsy. However, don’t be offended if someone calls you that. These insults are often meant as a joke and used between friends.

Go ask for that Caponata

Now you know how to say eggplant in Italian and how to make fun of your friends when they do something silly or goofy.

See you soon to learn some new Italian words! 🙂

Is "melanzana" used as an insult in Italian?

No, "melanzana" is not used as an insult in Italian. However, in Italian-American slang, it used to be an insult to call someone a dummy, as though "eggplant-head."

What is the Italian word for eggplant?

The Italian word for eggplant is "melanzana." It is a feminine singular noun, and its plural form is "melanzane."

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