What does “dolce” mean in italian?

dolce meaning italian

If you have a fondness for sugary foods such as chocolate, cakes, and sweets, you should immediately add the adjective dolce to your Italian lexicon.

what does dolce mean in italian sweet

The meaning of dolce in italian

The first definition of dolce in the dictionary is that it is pleasant to taste what is neither bitter, nor sour, nor salty: “the drink is dolce“, “honey is too dolce for me”

Another definition of sweet is without salt: “the dolce water of rivers.

Also means pleasant to the eye: “a dolce show”.

But dolce can also be used as a noun to refer to a dessert.

Let’s see some examples.

The adjective dolce

Dolce is one of those adjectives whose form changes only for the plural, not for the gender. For example:

un mandarino dolce (masculine, singular)

a sweet tangerine

una fragola dolce (feminine, singular)

a sweet strawberry

dei mandarini dolci (masculine, plural)

sweet tangerines

delle fragole dolci (feminine, plural)

sweet strawberries

It can refer to foods or drinks that are naturally sweet like fruit (frutta), that have been sweetened like coffee (caffè), that are sweeter than other foods or drinks of their kind like a dessert wine (vino), or that have a mild taste like fresh cheese (formaggio fresco).

Just as in English (sweet), dolce has various meanings, all of which denote something pleasant or agreeable.

For example, you can use dolce to describe different facets of a person, including their temperament, appearance, personality, or action.

un carattere dolce

a sweet character

un sorriso dolce

a sweet smile

un gesto dolce

a sweet gesture

un viso dolce

a sweet face

When you use the word dolce to talk about the temperature or climate of a place, it means mild or temperate.

un clima dolce

a mild climate

It can also mean malleable in reference to metals or gentle when talking about the steepness of a slope or a breeze.

While hard water is literally called acqua dura, soft water is known in Italian as acqua dolce (literally sweet water).

The term marinaio d’acqua dolce refers to an inexperienced person.

Dolce also has the meaning alternative when referring to medicine.

medicina dolce

alternative medicine

Dolce as a noun

Dolce is not only an adjective but also a masculine noun meaning dessert.

Although occasionally the word dessert is used, dolce is more common.

Vuoi ordinare un dolce?

Do you want to order a dessert?

Another meaning for the noun dolce is sweet taste or sweetness, in which case it is preceded by the determiner il (which).

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You can find it this way in the phrase il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), made famous by the movie Eat Pray Love.

You may also hear the diminutive dolcino or dolcetto, both meaning small cakes or small pastries.

The latter is also the name of a famous black Italian grape variety that is widely grown in the Piedmont region.

Dolcetto also appears in the Halloween expression Dolcetto o scherzetto! (Trick or treat!)

Others example of dolce

Some common words and expressions in which dolce occurs are:

casa dolce casa

home sweet home

la dolce vita

the sweet life

la mia dolce metà

my other (better) half

essere in dolce attesa

to be pregnant

essere al dolce

to be just finished (with a meal)

ghiotto di dolci

to have a sweet tooth

Do your dolce vita

Try complimenting your partner in Italian and you’ll see how she responds to the dolce sound of Italian words.

Tell your mother how delicious the dolce she baked is.

Sweeten your vocabulary with this versatile Italian word.

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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