How do you say “congratulations” in Italian?

The most literal way is congratulazioni.

When was your last big day? Do you still remember family, friends, and acquaintances coming over to congratulate you? Those days stay with us for the rest of our lives. We feel a fluttery sensation in our stomach that words can’t describe.

When was the last time you congratulated somebody else on their big day? Sharing our happiness with words is part of these events. When expressing ourselves in English, there is not much struggle. But what happens when we have to share our excitement in a foreign language? Researching beforehand is the solution.

So, to be prepared for these occasions, we will dive into the different ways you can say “congratulations” in Italian.

Congratulazioni!

Deep breath, “congratulations” and congratulazioni look very similar. There will not be trouble remembering this word. 

They are cognates, which means that although being from different languages, they look similar. Cognates often are inherited from a shared parent language.

But congratulazioni is not your only option. Its use is limited to specific events. You would like to learn what word to use according to the event you have ahead.

In which contexts can I use congratulazioni? It is very formal. Thus, appropriate for weddings or the arrival of a baby. Please avoid using it as a compliment when your friend bakes a cake.

Congratulazioni is more frequent in written language as opposed to everyday speech. So, assess the importance of the event and use it when it ticks that box.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Congratulazioni per il vostro matrimonio!

English: Congratulations on your wedding!

Italian: Congratulazioni per la promozione di lavoro!

English: Congratulations on the job promotion!

Complimenti!

So, what word can I use when the occasion is less formal? Complimenti!

And you guessed it. It translates to “compliments.” Yes, this is a lucky day, another pair of cognates!

Are you struggling to find a word to give a compliment? Just use complimenti! It conveys a sense of appreciation towards your interlocutor. And it works for most cases.

Labeled the most common way to say congratulations in Italian. What the heck, you can use it to congratulate someone even on their wedding day our job promotion.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Questa cena è deliziosa, complimenti!

English: This dinner looks delicious, congratulations!

Italian: Che bella casa. Complimenti!

English: What a beautiful home. Congratulations!

Auguri!

Like the previous, this is also a popular word. It translates to “best wishes.” The primary usage is to wish someone all the best. Do you want to acknowledge and celebrate a happy occasion in the life of your friend? Auguri is great for those occasions.

We can not leave a pertinent point go under the table. The most common use of this word is during holidays: Christmas, Easter, and New Year. Or to wish somebody a happy birthday. You may notice that these are recurrent events. They are special days that happen every so often, not a one-time thing. And using Auguri is also recurrent in these events.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Ho mandato un SMS di auguri a Sarah.

English: I sent a Happy Birthday SMS to Sarah.

Italian: Auguri per la gravidanza! 

English: I wish you all the best with your pregnancy!

Auguroni!

This word is similar to Auguri. However, you use it to be more emphatic. When you want to wish the absolute best, go with this option.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Auguroni a tutti quanti noi!!!

English: Absolute best wishes to all of us!

Italian: Auguroni di buon compleanno, Giulietta! 

English: Happy happy birthday, Giulietta!

Felicitazioni!

This word can be an alternative to both auguri and congratulazioni. But as we stated for congratulazioni, this one is also formal. It translates to “Felicitations.” The root word is felicità, which means “happiness.”

Here are some examples:

Italian: Felicitazioni e ti auguro un pieno successo per l’avvenire.

English: Congratulations, and wishing you plenty of success in the future.

Italian: Felicitazioni, signore e signora Ricci. 

English: Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Ricci.

Tanta felicità

Using this phrase on its own is ok. It translates to “Lots of happiness.” For example, you can approach a new graduate and say, “tanta felicità.” He will receive it as a compliment for their accomplishments.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Bene, vi auguro tanta felicità e vi ricontatterò presto.

English: Well, I wish you lots of happiness, and we will see you soon.

Italian: Ti auguro tanta felicità.

English: I wish you so much happiness.

Cento di questi giorni!

This phrase translates to “a hundred of these days.” And the equivalent in English would be “many happy returns.”

Here are some examples:

Italian: Cento di questi giorni, Mr. Rossi.

English: Many happy returns, Mr. Rossi.

Italian: E cento di questi giorni al nostro padrone di casa.

English: And many happy returns to our host.

Ottimo lavoro

In Italian, you use this phrase to say “well done” or “good job.” When someone has completed a task, you can tell them this!

Here are some examples:

Italian: Hai fatto un ottimo lavoro con questo giovanotto.

English: You have done a great job with this young man.

Italian: Odio ammetterlo, pero ottimo lavoro.

English: I hate to admit it, but good work.

Bravo/a!

And we left the most versatile word for the end. Bravo/a is suitable to congratulate somebody on special occasions. Using the word on its own is enough. But, as with Ottimo lavoro, we could also use it in a phrase to tell someone we admire their extraordinary work. We say somebody is bravo (masculine) or brava (feminine) when we feel proud of them.

There is not a literal translation of the adjective in English. But bravo, expressed on its own, the translation could be “well done.”

Here are some examples:

Italian: Hai passato l’esame, bravo!

English: You have passed the exam, well done!

Italian: Un bravo medico avrebbe dubitato delle informazioni sulla cartella.

English: A qualified doctor would have doubted the information on the chart.

Italian: Mark è davvero bravo nella falegnameria.

English: Mark is really good at woodworking.

Additional ways to congratulate somebody on specific occasions

We almost ended this post here. But we realized it could not be complete without mentioning some alternatives used on certain events. 

Buon/Buona + occasion

As we expressed when discussing Auguri, many events take place every year in which you share good wishes. So you can use this formula Buon/Buona + occasion.

Here are some examples:

Italian: Buona Pasqua!

English: Happy Easter!

Italian: Buon compleanno!

English: Happy Birthday!

Italian: Buon anniversario! 

English: Happy anniversary!

Italian: Buon Natale!

English: Merry Christmas!

Italian: Buon anno!

English: Happy New Year!

Evviva gli sposi! 

This phrase is for weddings. And it is a popular way to wish the couple a long and happy life together. It translates to “long live the bride and groom.”

Here are some examples:

Italian: Ma ora cari amici e illustri signori levate con me il vostro grido evviva gli sposi novelli!

English: And now, dear friends and noble gentlemen, join me in this wish, for the newly married.

Italian: Ci mancherai molto! – Evviva gli sposi!

English: You will be greatly missed! – Best wishes to the bride and groom!

In bocca al lupo

On our last phrase, we decided to include an idiom. When in front of a trial considered difficult or with lasting implications, this is the perfect expression. It is an informal way to express that you wish the person the best. The appropriate reply is always “crepi!” 

The literal translation is “to be in the mouth of the wolf.” And the reply is akin to saying, “it dies before it eats me.” So, the explanation is that the wolf is the trial. And it dying is the equivalent of overcoming the challenge.

Here are some examples:

Italian: In bocca al lupo con quel lavoro.

English: Yes, well, good luck with the job.

Italian: In bocca al lupo, signore e signori.

English: Best of luck, ladies and gentlemen.

Italian: In bocca al lupo ad Alexandra ed suo fantastico team.

English: Best of luck to Alexandra and her brilliant team.

To emphasize wishes

The Italian suffix -issimo/a/i/e is an intensifier. But it can only be used with some adjectives. It makes them stronger.

Here are some examples of how -issimo/a/i/e can work with congratulations:

Italian: Moltissime felicitazioni!

English: Many congratulations!

Italian: Tantissimi auguri!

English: Best wishes!

Italian: Grazie Francesca e tantissimi auguri alla piccola Luna!

English: Thank you, Francesca, and all the best to baby Luna!

Italian: Bravissimo!

English: Well done!

However, you must be careful that -issimo/a/i/e can only be attached to adjectives. You can say tantissimi but not augurissimi. It also doesn’t work with every single adjective: ottimo lavoro would sound awkward as ottimissimo lavoro.

Wrapping up

What a fun post it has been for us! I hope you had fun reading about all these ways to say “congratulations” in Italian too!

You did well researching these phrases. Would you like to keep on listening to these phrases and other Italian lessons in a podcast format? Check out this post. Podcasts are fun too!

Would you like to add one more phrase? Or do you have a comment? We are eager to hear from you. Please, leave us a message in the box below.


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