Top Misspelled

This page contains a list of the top most commonly misspelled Italian (food) words.


Pizza Margarita
(1,200,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Pizza Margherita .
Contamination of the English word ‘Margaret’. The wrong spelling is half as popular in searches as the correct one (source: Google Trends).


(1,540,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Focaccia .
The wrong spelling returns about 1,540,000 results. Fortunately, the correct spelling is 16 times more popular.


Osso Bucco or Ossobucco
(1,260,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Osso Buco.
Literally: ‘hollow bone’, braised cross-cut veal shank (a Milanese dish). The wrong spelling is used in searches 2.5 times more than the correct one (source: Google Trends).


(1,030,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Prosciutto .
Dry-cured ham. In 2004, about 1/3 of searches were for the incorrect spelling. Much better now (source: Google Trends).


(4,980,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Capicollo.
Literally: ‘head-neck’, a type of cold cut similar to ‘coppa’. The wrong spelling probably derives from the southern Italian accent of the early Italian-Americans.


(1,880,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Arrabbiata .
Literally: ‘enraged’, a spicy pasta sauce. The wrong spelling is 3 times more popular (source: Google Trends).


(20,400 results*)
Correct spelling: Alla cacciatora or ‘cacciatore-style’.
Literally: ‘hunter-style’, a common meat stew. ‘Chicken cacciatore’ would literally mean ‘hunter chicken’ (as opposed to ‘hunter’s chicken’, or ‘hunter-style chicken’).


(33,100 results*)
Correct spelling: Ciabatta .
Literally: ‘slipper’, a type of bread. Lately, however, the correct spelling is far more common.


Quattro Formaggio
(125,000 results*)
Correct spelling: Quattro Formaggi .
Literally: ‘four cheeses’, a type of pizza topping or pasta sauce. Quattro Formaggio is grammatically incorrect in Italian, as the numeral four (‘quattro’) requires a plural noun (formaggi). ‘Quatro Fromaggio’ (the inspiration for the name of this blog) derives instead from the contamination of the French word ‘fromage’.

* Based on Google.

10 thoughts on “Top Misspelled”

  1. Excellent, I'm responsible for some of those searches :?) I always liked "Italian" food, but after visiting friends who lived in Rome for a year and eating in Roma and Firenze, I fell in love with the food of Italy. (or at least the small part of Italy Iwe experienced.) What struck me was the simplicity and almost reverence for the ingredients. A few simple, fresh ingredients prepared in a way the makes you really notice what you're tasting and wonder, "Why have I never tasted this before? There's nothing here I haven't tried a dozen times before" Also the pride in the food, from the Fourno to the Norcia. In some ways it reminds me of the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer, except they've got a few thousand years head start.

  2. I LOVE this page! If I were to do the same with English words, I'd die way before I got halfway through! πŸ™‚ Enjoyed this, plus I learned something! Thanks!

  3. Hi Paolo
    A pizza place in London, run by Bangladeshis, dropped a flyer off in our letterbox with a menu advertising a 'Pizza Chilli con Cane' – as opposed to caRne!
    ie. Dogmeat ha ha ha! I had to smile…

  4. Ciao ancora Paolo, I just found your blog and I'm delighting in reading and laughing outloud at all the pet peeves that have been mine too since leaving Italy in 1984…

    Where were you when I was living in Vancouver? What a shame we never met. I only ever met one other Italian there (e niente affatto simpatico).

    All of these are my horrors too, the ones I have to contend with daily as an immigrant in the Anglo world. But you forgot THE ONE that makes us Italians cringe (though I saw you mentioned it in the pasta post:

    I've routinely seen even Italian-run, or very expensive Italian(ish) restaurants, in England, Canada and the US make this mistake on their menus.

    Could it be that the idea of gendered pasta is way to un-PC for the Anglo world? (see that opprobrium of using "actor" for female thespians that has become so popular todayÒ€”as if that made Hollywood discrimination against aging, non-super-model-like ACTRESSES better!)

  5. You are right, Amalia, linguini and fettuccini are so big that I couldn't even see them!

    Is it that the two versions read about the same in English? (And the incorrect one has become more common.)

    Or that they follow a trend where Italian words ending with 'i' are more popular? (Such as 'gelati' or 'panini', used incorrectly as sigular.)

    1. Absolutely, I have bruschetta under my Top Mispronounced. I didn't mention biscotti or spaghetti, because that's just how an English native speaker can pronounce those words – I'm sure we are equally funny when we try to say hamburger! πŸ™‚

  6. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the one that bugs me most is "panini." It is now a mainstream menu item in both fast and slow food restaurants, but everyone seems to get it wrong. Its "panino" (singular) and "panini" (plural). Not "I'll have the Italian Panini Sandwich, please!" Cringeworthy! πŸ™‚

    1. I hear you… I left it out of this list because technically it's not a spelling mistake, it's a grammar issue, with plural being used as singular. A big misrepresentation nonetheless!

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