Friday, March 27, 2009

The prefix stra-

Italian is known for its suffixes, among which is the famous -issimo for superlatives (bellissimo, grandissimo, stupidissimo etcetera.)

But there is also a prefix stra- which can be found before adjectives and verbs to denote a superlative degree or even an excess. This is related to our prefix extra-. To confuse things just a bit, the Italians also have extra- as a prefix (as in olio extravergine d'oliva.) You should not go putting the stra- in front of everything in an ad lib fashion, limit yourself to formations which already exist. Here are some examples:

straordinario ("extraordinary" as an adjective and "overtime" as a noun)

straricco ("filthy rich")

stravecchio (not used for the very old but for food and drink which is aged, such as brandy or cheese- it thus has a positive connotation, and will cost you)

stracotto (a beef pot roast which is cooked a really long time)

strafatto (drunk or high, from the slang meaning of fatto)

stramaledetto (goddamned)

strafare (to overdo it)

straparlare (to talk too much, especially in an aimless and over the top way)

Stramilano (a very popular running event held in, you guessed it, Milan)