Fare quattro chiacchiere! Eat or chit chat? It’s both, actually!

If you want to understand and participate more fully in the Italian culture, chiacchiere is a word you’ll want to learn. While chiacchiere, pronounced CHI-AC-CHI-ERE, literally are sugary treats for people with a decidedly robust sweet tooth, they also figuratively make up one of the most common let’s-get-together Italian expressions.

Let’s talk about the literal chiacchiere.

As always, Wikipedia provides the best historical overview:

“The chiacchiere (or crostoli or frappe or bugie or cenci) are typical Italian sweets usually prepared during the carnival period, also called by various other regional names. Their tradition dates back to that of frictilia , the sweets fried in fat that in ancient Rome were prepared during the period of the Roman calendar corresponding to the Carnival of the Catholic Church (February).”

As you can see from the feature photo, these visual beauties with their generous dousing of powdered sugar will provide a quick food high. For me, not so much since I’m a savory kind of guy. In other words, there’s no temptation for me. French fries, well, that’s a different story (i.e. molto pericoloso).

Chiacchiere (chit chat)

Now, let’s turn to the figurative chiacchiere, which is a chat.

And there can be several variations.

“Fare quattro chiacchiere!” (literally, “Let’s have four chats!”) is a frequently used expression suggesting to get together for a chat, usually with good friends. You’ll also hear “Fare due chiacchiere!” which is, “Let’s have a couple of chats!” In either instance, it’s a suggestion for a casual catching-up (often over coffee) get-together—one that may very well include a juicy dose of gossip.

If you want to refer to someone as being a chatterbox…

You might call them a “chiacchierone.” Depending on the context and tone of voice, this can be a lighthearted dismissal of someone who basically runs at the mouth or more of an indictment of someone who loves to hear themselves talk.

Chiacchiere del più e del meno.

If you want to just shoot the breeze or just complain about your problems without seriously pursuing solutions (blowing off steam) you might use this form. Literally, it means, “To chat about stuff, more or less.”

And that, my friends, is a short lesson about an oft-used word in everyday Italian conversation!