How Do You Say 'Seize The Day' In Italian?


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The expression 'seize the day' can be translated into Italian as cogli l'attimo which actually means 'seize the moment'. To translate 'sieze the day' literally, you'd say cogli il giorno - but that version doesn't have the same idiomatic properties.

Carpe diem
'Seize the day' is actually a translation itself, as it originated from the Latin carpe diem that featured in a poem written by the Roman soldier and poet Horace (or Quintus Horatius Flaccus to be precise). The original meaning of the word carpe was to 'pluck or gather', but Horace used it to mean 'to enjoy' or 'make use of'.

In its original context, the phrase appears as Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero - which actually translates to 'seize the day, putting as little trust as possible in the future'.

Similar Italian phrases about life
Often, Italians won't even refer to the translation cogli l'attimo when taking about 'seizing the day', because there is another phrase, vivi il presente (or 'live for the present'), which is more commonly used. This is often followed by non pensando al futuro or 'not thinking about the future', to make an idiom that is frequently quoted by Italians.

Another Italian phrase commonly associated with this sense of living for the moment is the concept of l'attimo fuggente or 'the fleeting moment'.

L'attimo fugente was also the Italian title of the 1989 Robin Williams movie Dead Poets Society, which was partly responsible for introducing the phrase carpe diem to a popular audience.

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