Che palle

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by phost22, Apr 23, 2005.

  1. phost22 Member

    US - English
    what does the expression "che palle" mean?
    does it mean something like the english expression "that sucks"?
    and if not, how would you translate "that sucks" into italian?
    and also how would you say "that's cool" in italian, the opposite of when you would say "that sucks" in english

    example for context
    person 1: i lost my job today
    person 2: that sucks..

    i hope that wasn't so confusing:p

  2. Alfry

    Alfry Senior Member

    you got it.
    It is a strong expression, though.

    that sucks:
    - è prorpio una bella seccatura (rottura di scatole, scocciatura, fastidio).

    but you could also find a lot of different ways to say it in Italian (not too much polite I guess).

    that's cool:
    - è fantastico (grandioso, eccezionale)
    and lots of similar expressions but less polite than that.
  3. fetchezlavache

    fetchezlavache Senior Member

    metz, france
    'palle' is slang for testicles... equivalent of 'balls'... :eek:
  4. Alfry

    Alfry Senior Member

    you are right fetchezlavache, that's why I've stated that it is a strong expression, though widely used in everyday speech
  5. leenico

    leenico Senior Member

    U.S.A. english
    My translation is "what balls." Such as, what balls he has to tell me to do something. I don't work for him. :D
  6. Agattau Banned

    London, UK
    Rome, Italy; Italian case wasn't clear -
    :warning: Che palle: It is often said if you are annoyed, bothered about (doing) something or generally bored;
    It could be considered a swear word: I think it refers to the male testicles in this case as in being too cumbersome, hence the meaning - annoying, bothersome etc, … but is usually said by females as well, which I can’t see how could that be (just kidding)

    A more polite expression used with the exact same meaning is: che barba - I let you draw the conclusions on that
  7. carinaragazza New Member

    United States, English
    If you want to say "cool!" you can say "ganzo" or "che ganzo." Be sure to say it correctly though- I had a friend that told someone that his watch was "gonzo", pronouncing it like the muppet babies character, but that means like how stupid or how ridiculous.

    As for "che palle," I had another friend who wanted to tell a guy "what balls" he had, but it's definitely much more negative than what we use.

    And another funny story- a woman that I was working with hung up the phone one time and said "che palle.." I asked her "chi?" and she said "la vita!"
  8. Nadietta Member


    *****:) HAHAHAH, spiritosa!! Funny!!

    "che palle" = also "what a nuisance"/ "what a bore" and maybe, but I am not sure if it is too strong, "what a load of........-cks". Or maybe the latter corresponds more to the Italian "che ..........-ni" (hopefully I am not banned!;)).

    As for "cool", "ganzo" is perfect, but you could also traslate it by "forte!!" and "fortissimo" (literally: "strong"/ "very strong"). And "forte " can be used for an object or a person " Gianni è proprio forte!" "Gianni is really cool".

    For a "cool" object you could also use the youth's slang expression "è una figata" for example referred to a gadget, or, I don't know. a "navigator system" (??) in your car (??!!). There's also another word for "cool" which is "figo" ...But maybe it's we'd better open another thread ;)???
  9. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Search "fico" and you will find a few. :)
  10. ivanbcn Senior Member

    Italiano - Roma
  11. Luc4

    Luc4 Senior Member

    Italy, Italian
  12. Favonio

    Favonio Member

    Italy - Italian
    I think Nadietta centered the point.

    Che palle! / che barba! / che noia! are all expressions whose meaning leads to what a bore!.

    And I agree again with Nadietta: best general translations for cool! are forte! and ganzo! (masculine ganzo, because you are not referring to a specific thing, but to the general situation).
    In fact, as ivan states, ganzo may be a bit out-of-order among meridional people of my Country. Anyway is well understood as Italian word, and not dialectal one. :)
    Luca is perfectly right: figo (much more often wihtout ! intonation) is a north typical expression.
    You'd never come across a "siciliano" or a "pugliese" who suddenly utters figo! :-D

    You could use fantastico / eccezionale / che spettacolo forms too.

    And additional SLANG translations are è una figata / che figata! / che spetta! (spetta is contraction of spettacolo)/ che bomba!...

    figata and ficata are interchangeable each other.

    Oh well, now that I think about it, che bomba! may result in some laughs and smiles out of Tuscany, where I currently live in. :-D
    Anyway you are free to manage such expressions as you wish; that's the funny of speaking Italian in conversations! Among me and my friends everyone uses a different expression. :)

    However, in Italian there are plenty of ways to express fellings, thoughts, opinions of ordinary life, such as I am getting bored / cool / etc etc.

    If you are looking sureness to be well understand and above all to express admiration/enthusiastic feeling for the "current situation", use forte! with the same, exact tone of cool!

    Ciao (sperando di essere stato d'aiuto), Favonio. :)
  13. janko Member

    Italy - italian
    A contribution of mine... hope to be helpful...

    I have to underline i'm from Milan, because, as already said, this kind of terms are very different from region to region in Italy (It often happens even an italian don't understand some expression used in region other than his).
    if you think the literal meaning of "che palle" is actually a swear word.
    I thing it refer to another expression "che palle piene/ne ho le palle piene" ->sounds like-> "What full balls/ i got full balls about it")...BUT EVERYONE use it, and nobody thing the licteral meaning when hearing it. actually EVERYONE USE IT A LOT OF TIMES EVERY DAY.

    "ganzo", "fico", "figata" are regional expression. In Milan we use a lot "figa!" for showing surprise.. but it's quite vulgar!! it licteraly means "pussy"!!! this term is also used to vulgarly appreciate a girl (means "sexy", "attactive"..)

    Ciao. Janko.
  14. Favonio

    Favonio Member

    Italy - Italian
    Well, the north figa for pointing out a very very fair girl is replaced in Tuscany with the much more direct (I retain...) word fica.

    In fact figa with g is used the most at north; I can assert with sureness that you'd not going to hear che figa! in the place I live in, while che fica! is really really common, especially among young people.

  15. janko Member

    Italy - italian
    Thanks Favonio.. how an italian learn italian from an italian on a english forum !!!
    I'll keep it in mind when i'll be in wonderful Tuscany (i can also try to pronounce it with the aspirate H instead of the C, as Tuscan use to do!) !!!

    Bye. Janko.
  16. aphaelena

    aphaelena Senior Member

    Vorrei tanto sapere qual'è la frase più adatta per tradurre questa espressione italiana usata ovunque.

    - Porta giù il cane per favore.
    - Che palle!! (ed equivalente espressione "rompersi le palle", cioè scocciarsi)

  17. Heracleum

    Heracleum Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    What about:
    what a pain in the neck / :warn:ass
  18. mickeyNZ Member

    New Zealand
    Just "what a pain!" would do, or even a whining "do I have to?"

    In reality, the concept would be relayed in english using some guttural noise or grunt of displeasure. (assuming teenagers are involved)
  19. parole parole parole New Member

    I'm a bit late on this thread but I saw it for the first time today...

    Ganzo is florentine slang for 'figo', 'forte', 'cool'. and it's obviously open to all possible variations such as ganzissimo, ganzata, ganzataggine, etc etc:)

    Some pockets of Tuscany completely discard the C aspirata, i.e. la provincia di Massa Carrara and the some parts of the Versilia area (northern coast) have a completely different accent due to the vicinity of Liguria and of course other historic influences.

    meglio tardì che mai! ciao!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2009
  20. stefania75 New Member

    che palle is used in many contexts. It could mean fuck! (as in exclamation of anger), that sucks, what a drag, and so forth.
    Often we move our hands as if you were shaking them after washing them, to go along with this expression and thus reinforce the idea of palle.
    Palle menas balls in Italian (testicals) but according to a source its origins are military, referring to the Big War soldier who would "turn" the balls (bullets) to make them more effective.
    "That's cool" can be translated as "che forte!" (that's strong!), although there are many regional and dialectal variants, such as "gajardo" (the j is pronounced as a y) in Rome, "che togo" in Sardinia, "che bestia" in some areas of Central North Italy.
    Hope this answer was satisfactory.
  21. animalover Member

    Malta, English, Maltese
    Hi all,

    I believe you can also say "che pizza" with similar meaning to "che palle" or "che barba" right?
  22. Quandore Senior Member


    A correct translation for "che palle!" could also be: "so boring!"
  23. stokazz New Member

    I'd say that the most common way of translating Cool in Italy today is Fico (in the Rome area) or Figo (Northern Italy), but like most of these slang words it had and it will change through the years.

    My smaller brother (26) now says Che Bomba, so i guess you can't really tell what it's going to be in the next years ;)

    is and expression my father used when he was young (hes 60 years old now), i wouldnt say it these days...

    is a word i only heared in Tuscany!

    Che palle is and expression people say when something is annoying-boring.
    What a pain in the ass would probably be the closest translation in En.
  24. cscarfo Senior Member

    Italy Italian
    In many places "che coglioni" is synonym of "che palle". And both, in my view, are a short form, more or less, of "ne ho le palle piene"/"ne ho pieni i coglioni".


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