Meaning of the Italian word mangia

All you need to know about the word eat in Italian.

Italo- Americans have great memories of their grandfathers yelling at dinner time the simple phrase: “A mangiá, tutti a mangiá!”  Which in southern Italian dialect means, “To the table, everyone. It’s time to eat!’”

In fact, much of Italian culture revolves around eating.  Italians are notorious for talking about what they will eat for dinner, while literally eating lunch.

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The expression “ora di mangiare” or, loosely translated, “the eating hour”, is ingrained in daily life through the times of day at which it would be inconsiderate to not be sitting down for a meal.  

If you have ever tried to find a last minute lunch place in the center of Rome, you’d understand that getting in before 1p.m. is paramount to success. 

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Literally translated, the word “mangia” means “eat”, and although it may seem like a command, it is in fact a politeness, a caring way to tell relatives and guests to “dig in” to their meal.

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The origin of “mangia” comes from the verb “mangiare” (to eat).  

The word is also used in other contexts.  For example, “mangia mosche”, or “eat flies”, is a fly swatter!

The next time you hear the word “mangia”, remember it’s an invitation to enjoy your food and the time you spend eating it.