How to say “friends” in Italian | Learn Italian words

Everyone needs friends. Friends are the family we get to choose. We have fun with them, we cheer for them, we help them go through the hardships of life, and they do the same for us. Such an important relationship can’t be excluded from your basic Italian vocabulary. So, here’s how to say friends in Italian and to describe friendship.
how to say friend in Italian

The Italian words for “friend”

There are two Italian translation that can mean friend:

  • amico
  • compagno

Amico is the most common way of saying “friend” in Italian. It’s a masculine singular noun.

So remember to decline it according to the gender of the people you’re talking about.

It can become amica, amici, or amiche (respectively: female friend, male friends, and female friends).

Sono felice che tu sia mio amico.

I’m happy you’re my friend.

Gianni ha una nuova amica, il suo nome è Gina

Gianni has a new friend, her name is Gina.

Mario e Luigi sono miei amici.

Mario and Luigi are friends of mine.

Più tardi esco con le mie amiche Lucia e Fabiola.

I’m going out with my friends Lucia and Fabiola, later.

The Italian words for friend

As friend does in English, amico is part of the Italian word for friendship: amicizia.

It can also turn into amichetto, which means little friend, or into amicone (big friend). The last one is generally used to describe someone who’s friendly with everyone or, much more rarely, to say that two people are really great friends.

Sono proprio due amiconi!

They’re really great friends!

Quando avrai finito i compiti potrai giocare coi tuoi amichetti.

When you finish your homework you’ll be allowed to go play with your little friends.

friends in Italian

Compagno, on the other hand, is more similar to “buddy”, or “mate”. Italians use this word when describing the relationship they have with their friends.

Lui è il mio compagno di bevute.

He’s my drinking buddy.

Siamo compagni di viaggio.

We’re travel buddies.

In a romantic context, compagno can also mean boyfriend/girlfriend or partner.

Gabriele è il compagno di Laura

Gabriele is Laura’s partner.

Ho visto Chiara al ristorante con il suo compagno.

I’ve seen Chiara with her boyfriend at a restaurant.

Also, Italians use the expression compagni di merende (“break buddies”) ironically to say partners in crime. That’s a very specific kind of friendship, too, after all…

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Friends in Italian: what you’ve learned

L’amicizia è importante, and if you’ve got the right friends everything in life becomes so much simpler!

Now, if you visit Italy with your buddies, you’ll be able to introduce them as your friends in Italian and to describe your favourite shared activities.

See you soon to learn the next Italian words.

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

FAQs on How to say “friends” in Italian | Learn Italian words

What do Italians call their friends?

The Italian words for "friends" are "amici" (for male pals or a mixed group) or "amiche" (female friends). 

Do Italians say buddy?

Although English speakers might refer to their buddies as "buddy," there are no true Italian counterparts for this term. If you study the Italian language extensively, you might discover the word compa, which is short for compagno/compare and means "friend."

What does Amico mean?

Amico (plural amici, feminine amica) in Italian means friend, companion, or partner.


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