What does “Rosicare” mean in English?


Do you know the feeling of your favorite sports team losing? Or when you buy something and then you see it on sale the next day?  Well that feeling is rosicare in Italian/Roman slang.

Just like many other Italian idioms, rosicare  is hard to translate into English. Literally, it means to erode or gnaw/nibble. To use it, conjugate it normally (it is an ARE verb), according to person and tense. From what I understand, one can use rosicare to mean either, 1) being envious (or like our English phrase, ‘green with envy,’ or 2) getting angry, annoyed, or fed up. There is a very thin line between the two explanations, yet it is important to understand both meanings.

Meaning 1rosicare as being envious:
‘Gianni ha rosicato perchè la sua squadra ha perso’- Gianni was green with envy because his soccer team lost.

Meaning 2rosicare  as getting angry:
‘Carlo mi ha detto che sto meglio con i capelli rossi. Ho rosicato perchè me li ho tinti di nero oggi!’ – Carlo told me I look better with red hair. I got annoyed, because I died them black today!

You can also call someone a rosicone, which means, a person who is envious, sensitive, or gets angry easily.

It seems like rosicare has meant ‘to gain’ or “suck up” at one point, because in my research I also found the phrase, ‘Chi non rischia, non rosica,’ or ‘one who does not risk, does not gain.’



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