The meaning of pronto | How to use this Italian word


Discover the versatile Italian word “pronto” and how it’s more than just a phone greeting. From expressing readiness to speed, this guide unpacks the nuances of “pronto” and how to use it like a true Italian!

  • Answering Calls: Say “pronto” when picking up the phone. It’s the Italian go-to, like saying “Hello?” in English. Remember, it’s your first impression on the call, so say it with confidence! 😉
  • Expressing Readiness: Use “pronto” to show you’re ready. Whether it’s for dinner (“La cena è pronta!“) or an adventure, it’s your verbal green light. 🚦
  • Quickness: While it’s becoming old-school, “pronto” can mean quick. Think “pronta guarigione” for a speedy recovery. It’s like wishing someone to zoom through healing! 🏎️💨
  • Emergency Context:Pronto soccorso” is your phrase for emergency rooms, highlighting the need for swift action. It’s not just first aid; it’s first aid at Ferrari speed! 🚑
  • Learning Logic Over Lists: Don’t cram situations. Grasp why “pronto” is used. It’s like choosing a map over memorizing every street; navigate conversations with ease! 🗺️

Now that you’ve got the scoop on “pronto“, why not test it out? Call an Italian buddy and start with a cheerful “pronto“! And for a good laugh, check out “Il viaggio in Subaru baracca” on Youtube. 📞😄

My thoughts

Pronto in context

Let’s review this sketch that illustrates the use of “pronto”.

“Am I speaking to Mr. Aldo Baglio?”
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Look, this is the Financial Police talking.”
“… Sorry, you’ve got the wrong number!”

This is a scene from a sketch by the famous Italian comedy trio Aldo, Giovanni & Giacomo. In this excerpt, two of the main characters make a prank call to their friend.

But what does it mean when they say pronto at the beginning? It’s simple: pronto is the word Italians use to answer the phone or start a phone conversation.


A: “Pronto Dante, sono Lorenzo. Ti va di venire per un caffè?” B: “Sì, pronto Lorenzo! Va bene, arrivo subito.”

A: “Pronto Dante, it’s Lorenzo. Do you wanna come over for a coffee?” B: “Yeah, pronto Lorenzo! Fine, I’ll be there in a minute.”

This, however, is not the only meaning of pronto. The English have borrowed this word, but now we use it to mean “quickly”.

Anyway, even this is not the main meaning of this word in Italy. Let’s talk about it!

How do you use pronto in Italian?

Does pronto mean quickly or ready? The answer is both!

Like the English, Italians can use pronto to mean “quickly” or “speedy”, too.

This meaning of pronto is probably the reason why this word is used in the Italian term for first aid: pronto soccorso (which is also the way people call emergency rooms).

Anyway, this usage is now becoming obsolete and is mostly used for fixed expressions like:

Ti auguro una pronta guarigione!

I wish you a speedy recovery!

Ha proprio i riflessi pronti!

He really has quick reflexes!

Now, when Italians say pronto, they mean “ready” most of the time.

Pronti, partenza… via!

Ready, set… go!

La cena è pronta!

Dinner is ready!

Siamo in ritardo di venti minuti e non sei ancora pronto?! Sbrigati!

We’re twenty minutes late, and you’re not ready yet?! Hurry up!

Sono pronto ad affrontare l’esame.

I’m ready to take the exam.

So, in short, pronto can mean both “quick” and “ready”. You can find people on the web who list other meanings of pronto, but those are all related to the first two.

I find that turning every situation into a specific case is a bad way to learn a language, a bit like flashcards.

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It’s much better to understand the logic behind using a particular word rather than memorizing a bunch of useless situations that only end up being confusing, am I right?

Go call your Italian friends!

Understanding the meaning of pronto will allow you to be more confident during everyday conversations and learn a lot of Italian expressions like the ones you’ve read so far.

I’ll teach you some more soon. In the meantime, if you want to have a laugh, go watch the comic sketch I mentioned earlier.

It’s called “Il viaggio in Subaru baracca“, and you can find it on Youtube. Try to see how many words you can understand!

What "pronto" means in English?

"Pronto" in Italian means quickly or without delay.

In what language is "pronto"?

Pronto is italian word that means quick, ready, prompt.

In which situatiations do we say "pronto"?

When you pick up the phone and answer it in Italian, you say "pronto" (literally, ready), expressing to the person on the other end that you are ready to speak.

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