Una sorella è una cosa preziosa. A sister is a precious thing.
Learn all about how to say sister, or sorella, in Italian, how to pronounce it and examples of how to use it. Find out about related words, like sisters (sorelle), little sister (sorellina), and sister-in-law (cognata), and how to pronounce them. You’ll also discover how to say my sister (mia sorella), and talk about siblings in Italian.
Table of Contents
SISTER IN ITALIAN
Sorella means sister in Italian. Una sorella is a sister, while la sorella means the sister.
The pronunciation sorella of is: soh-REHL-lah
Listen to how to pronounce sorella here:
Just like the English word sister, a sorella is a female-identifying person with one or both of the same parents as another person.
Teresa è la sorella di Massimo.
Teresa is Massimo’s sister.
SISTERS IN ITALIAN
Sorelle means sisters in Italian. Sorelle is the plural of sorella.
The pronunciation sorelle of is: soh-REHL-leh
Listen to how to pronounce sorelle here:
Serena Williams e Venus Williams sono sorelle.
Serena Williams and Venus Williams are sisters.
If you find yourself in Parma, the mecca of cured meats and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, make a pilgrimage to trattoria Sorelle Picchi (Picchi Sisters), a Parma institution.
BIG SISTER/LITTLE SISTER
A big sister is una sorella maggiore, or una sorella più grande.
A little sister is una sorella minore, una sorella più piccola, una sorella più giovane, or una sorellina.
Ieri è nata la mia sorellina.
Yesterday my little sister was born.
La mia sorella più grande è andata al supermercato con la mia mamma.
My older sister went to the supermarket with my mom.
MORE TYPES OF SISTERS
Half sister or stepsister is sorellastra
Adopted sister is sorella adottiva
Sister-in-law is cognata
Twin sister is gemella
Sisterhood is sorellanza
NUN IN ITALIAN
As in English, the word for sister (sorella) can be used to refer to a nun.
Since sorella can be ambiguous, use the word suora (nun) to be clear you are speaking of a religious sister.
The pronunciation suora is: soo-OH-rah
Listen to how to pronounce suora here:
The plural of suora is suore, or nuns.
The pronunciation suore is: soo-OH-reh
Listen to how to pronounce suore here:
When speaking to or about a nun, you can use the title Suor before her name. This is like using the title Sister in English.
Buonasera Suor Patrizia.
Good evening Sister Patrizia.
MY SISTER: POSSESSIVES
To say my sister, use mia sorella. Usually possessives in Italian also require the direct article (the). For example: la mia amica means my (female) 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.
|mia sorella is my sister|
tua sorella is your sister (informal you)
sua sorella is his/her/your sister (formal you)
|nostra sorella is our sister|
vostra sorella your sister (plural you)
La loro sorella is their sister
La mia sorella maggiore is my older sister
La mia sorellina is my little sister
La mia sorella intelligente is my intelligent sister
When talking to your sister, you can call her sorella mia, or sister of mine/my sister.
Ti voglio bene sorella mia.
I love you my sister.
Sorella mia ti giuro non lo fare mai più o lo dico alla mamma.
My sister I swear don’t do that again or I’ll tell mom.
BROTHER IN ITALIAN
Fratello means brother in Italian. To learn more, read How to Say Brother in Italian.
The pronunciation of fratello is: frah-TEL-loh
Listen to how to pronounce fratello here:
Sister-brother relationships can be complicated. 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. There’s a reason this looks familiar: fratelli is the plural form of fratello (brother). So it means brothers.
But fratelli can mean brothers, and also 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 due sorelle e un fratello.
|A: Do you have any siblings? |
B: Yes, I have two sisters and one brother.
|A: Hai fratelli o sorelle?|
B: No, sono figlia unica.
|A: Do you have any brothers or sisters?|
B: No, I’m an only child.