Italian SMS

Just when you think you are finally getting a grip on the Italian language you come face to face with Italian SMS.

SMS (short message service) is basically a service that allows you to send short text messages between cell phones and it has become increasing popular with Italians, especially among the younger generations.

Italian SMS
Photo Credit:  Kaeru

While I was in Italy, I noticed that cell phones had become quite popular since my last trip, but it seemed cell phones were more commonly used to send text messages (SMS) then to make calls.  As a result, a whole new abbreviated Italian language was created.  This didn’t really have an impact on me at the time, since I wasn’t using my cell phone in Italy.  However, since my return I’ve noticed that the concept of SMS has gone beyond the cell phone.  As many of my Italian friends started joining Facebook, I began to see the use of SMS more and more: comments on photos, status updates, wall posts, etc.

If you are just starting to learn the Italian language, the abbreviations may be tough to figure out.  I found that I was able to make sense of most of these strange letter/number/symbol groupings, but the point of SMS was definitely lost on me, since it took me longer to translate the sentence in its SMS form then it took to translate the same sentence in its full form.

However, since many of my friends use SMS, I decided it was time for a crash course.  In order to do that, I had to go straight to the source and figure out what all this SMS business was about.  I went to my Italian friends to gather a list of the more commonly used SMS abbreviations of the Italian language.

It was like cracking a code, or being initiated into a secret society.  And, because I’m so generous, I thought I would pass some of this new found knowledge on to you.

Here are just a few…

6 – sei
anke – anche
c6? – ci sei?
cm – come
cmq – comunque
dv 6? – dove sei?
ftt – fatto
nn – non
qlcs – qualcosa
qnd – quando
smpr – sempre
tt – tutto
xke – perche
xo – pero

I know there are so many more different SMS words that can be added to this list.  Feel free to add any you have seen on numerous occasions.


  1. Italian sms | Luxe4you

    March 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    […] Italian SMS | Calabrisella MiaAug 31, 2009 … Italian SMS. Just when you think you are finally getting a grip on the Italian language you come face to face with Italian SMS. SMS (short … […]

  2. TechLingos

    April 6, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    Hi LuLu,
    Great post! I hope you don’t mind, I have featured your post on the following blog: – a language blog which focuses on the evolution of language – specifically the effect of social media on language.
    Do check it out!
    Happy blogging 🙂

  3. Madeline

    September 20, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    I’ll add a few more I see a lot:

    ke = che
    x = per (this one is way pre-SMS, I’ve been using it in emails for 10 years)
    we = weekend

    Grazie! 🙂 The list is never-ending…I may have to do another post with more I’ve found since I wrote this blog post!! haha

  4. Italy News: 20 September 2009 | Italy Travel Guide

    September 20, 2009 at 3:51 am

    […] And if that didn’t turn your brain into knots, then here’s something else to consider – text-messaging in Italy has its own unique language, […]

  5. Barbara

    September 11, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    This is so helpful!!! And, believe it or not, it will also help me figure out what the graffitti in the streets means too as Italian vandals use abbreviations when they spray paint too.

    Haha! I never thought about that. Next time I’m in Italy I’ll be looking at the graffiti more! 😛

  6. Alex

    September 6, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I liked this too!

    I still write like a normal human being when smsing in Italian. I guess I am old!



    I don’t think I could SMS in Italian, even if I tried. 😛

  7. italyMONDO!

    August 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Too funny… This is a great post. “Code” isn’t even the word! I’d do better translating some of my friends text messages (SMSs) and Facebook posts if they were in Pig Latin!

    In the rural South it’s always funny to see how cell phones fit in with the Old World way-of-life. My Molise/Campobasso clients always get a kick out of visiting the Samnite ruins of Saepium at dusk as the cattle farmers come in to graze.

    Contrasted by pre-roman ruins and Old World pastors, they start to laugh when they see these 20-something aged cattle herders – who are learning the trade of their ancestors – text in one hand while holding their “bastone” in the other!

    I know, right?!?! I have yet to see a cattle-herder with a cell phone. I love seeing priests and nuns with cell phones, it always makes me giggle for some reason! 😛

Leave a Reply