Fratello, dove sei? O Brother, where art thou?
Good question! Learn all about how to say brother, or fratello, in Italian, how to pronounce it and examples of how to use it. Find out about related words, like brothers (fratelli), little brother (fratellino), and half brother (fratellastro), and how to pronounce them. You’ll also discover how to say my brother (mio fratello), hey bro (ciao frà) and talk about siblings in Italian.
Table of Contents
BROTHER IN ITALIAN
Fratello means brother in Italian. Un fratello is a brother, while il fratello means the brother.
The pronunciation fratello of is: frah-TELL-oh
Listen to how to pronounce fratello here:
Just like the English word brother, a fratello is a male-identifying person with one or both of the same parents as another person.
Massimo è il fratello di Teresa.
Massimo is Teresa’s brother.
BROTHERS IN ITALIAN
Fratelli means brothers in Italian. Fratelli is the plural of fratello.
The pronunciation fratelli of is: frah-TELL-ee
Listen to how to pronounce fratelli here:
Fratelli Rossetti (Rossetti Brothers) is an Italian footwear brand specializing in luxury men’s and women’s shoes.
F.lli is the Italian abbreviation for fratelli, like Bros. in English.
Good To Know: Fratelli has two possible meanings. It can refer to a group of all brothers, or a group of brothers and sisters: siblings. Keep reading to find out why!
The Italian national anthem is commonly known as Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), the opening lyric, or L’Inno di Mameli (Mameli’s Hymn) after Goffredo Mameli, the writer of the lyrics. (The anthem’s real name is Il Canto degli Italiani, or The Song of the Italians.) The anthem begins: Fratelli d’Italia, l’Italia s’è desta. Brothers of Italy, Italy has arisen.
Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy), an Italian right-wing populist political party founded in 2012, was the largest party in the Italian General Election of 2022, winning 26% of the vote.
BIG BROTHER/LITTLE BROTHER
A big brother is un fratello maggiore, or un fratello più grande.
A little brother is un fratello minore, un fratello più piccolo, un fratello più giovane, or un fratellino.
Il mio fratellino è nato alle cinque stamattina!
My little brother was born at 5 o’clock this morning!
Paolo ha un fratello maggiore che vive a Roma.
Paolo has a big brother who lives in Rome.
Grande fratello (Big brother) is an Italian reality tv show and cultural phenomenon which has been on air since 2000 in various formats. The show participants live in a house that they can’t leave, with no contact with the outside world, and with video cameras recording their every move.
MORE TYPES OF BROTHERS
Half brother or stepbrother is fratellastro
Adopted brother is fratello adottivo
Brother-in-law is cognato
Twin brother is gemello
Il mio gemello abita nella casa accanto.
My twin brother lives in the house next door.
MY BROTHER: POSSESSIVES
To say my brother, use mio fratello. Usually possessives in Italian also require the direct article (the). For example: il mio amico means my (male) friend. However, family members are a big exception.
Do not use the direct article with the SINGULAR, unaltered nouns of most family members. If there is an adjective before or after the family member, use the article. Also, use the article with the possessive loro.
|mio fratello is my brother|
tuo fratello is your brother (informal you)
suo fratello is his/her/your brother (formal you)
|nostro fratello is our brother|
vostro fratello your brother (plural you)
Il loro fratello is their brother
Il mio fratellino is my little brother
Il mio fratello biondo is my blond brother
Some young Italians use fratello when talking to a buddy or friend.
A shortened version of fratello– frà– is like bro in English, and is extremely informal.
Ciao frà, come butta?
Hey bro, how’s it going?
SISTER IN ITALIAN
Sorella means sister in Italian. To learn more, read How to Say Sister in Italian.
The pronunciation sorella of is: soh-REH-lah
Listen to how to pronounce sorella here:
Sister-brother relationships aren’t always easy. Here is the trailer of Mio Fratello, Mia Sorella (My Brother, My Sister). The 2021 Italian film starring Claudio Pandolfi and Alessandro Preziosi was directed by Roberto Capucci, and distributed by Netflix.
There are two ways to say siblings in Italian.
The first is fratelli e sorelle (brothers and sisters).
The second way to say siblings is the word fratelli. ”But wait, what’s going on?” you’re thinking. “Earlier in this post it says that fratelli means brothers!”
It’s true, fratelli can mean brothers, and siblings. Because of how Italian word genders work, even though fratelli is a masculine plural word, it can be used for a mixed group of brothers and sisters, or siblings. This is true even if there are 100 sisters and 2 brothers.
Un figlio unico/Una figlia unica is an only child, or someone who doesn’t have any siblings.
Here are some examples:
|A: Hai fratelli?|
B: Sì, ho tre sorelle e due fratelli.
|A: Do you have any siblings? |
B: Yes, I have three sisters and two brothers.
|A: Hai fratelli o sorelle?|
B: No, sono figlio unico.
|A: Do you have any brothers or sisters? |
B: No, I’m an only child.