La Suocera! How to Say MOTHER-IN-LAW in Italian

Kind, welcoming, and wise, or bossy and domineering? The Italian mother-in-law has a mixed reputation. Whatever yours may be . . . you definitely don’t want to mess with her. 

Learn how to say suocera, the word for mother-in-law in Italian, as well as how to pronounce and use it. You’ll find out about the word’s negative connotations, how and why to say my mother-in-law (mia suocera), how to talk about mothers-in-law (suocere) and parents-in-law in general (suoceri). There is also information about an Italian flatbread named after mother-in-laws called lingue di suocere, and Italian sayings that feature mothers-in-law. 


The word for mother-in-law is suocera.

Una suocera is a mother-in-law, while la suocera means the mother-in-law.

The pronunciation of suocera is: soo-OH-cheh-rah

Listen to how to pronounce suocera here:

Ho una suocera molto generosa.
I have a very generous mother-in-law.


Suocere means mothers-in-law. Suocere is the plural of suocera

The pronunciation of suocere is:  soo-OH-cheh-reh

Listen to how to pronounce of suocere here:

Le suocere di Caterina e Marta sono sorelle.
Caterina’s and Marta’s mothers-in-law are sisters



Besides using the word suocera to refer matter of factly to a mother-in-law, the word also has a negative connotation. It can be used to describe someone who is bossy, a know-it-all, and grumpy: in short, a nag. For example:

Mario, non fare la suocera! Smetti di comandarmi a bacchetta, non ne posso più!
Mario, don’t be a mother-in-law! Stop ordering me around, I can’t stand it anymore!

A couple is arguing in their living room.  She's saying in a graphic speech bubble, "Mario, non fare la suocera!"


Use mia suocera to say my mother-in-law. This is an exception to the Italian rule about possessives.

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 suocera is my mother-in-law
tua suocera is your mother-in-law (informal you) 
sua suocera is his/her/your mother-in-law (formal you) 
nostra suocera is our mother-in-law
vostra suocera your mother-in-law (plural you) 


La loro suocera is their mother-in-law
La mia fantastica suocera is my fantastic mother-in-law
La mia suocerina is my (little) mother-in-law

Mia suocera abita nella casa accanto.
My mother-in-law lives in the house next door.


If you have a suocera, that makes you either a nuora, or daughter-in-law, or a genero, a son-in-law.

Your suocera is the mother of your marito (husband) or moglie (wife).

To learn more about these words, read Daughter-in-law in Italian, Son-in-law in Italian, Husband in Italian, and Wife in Italian.


Suocero means father-in-law in Italian. To learn more, read Father-in-law in Italian.

The pronunciation of suocero is: soo-OH-cheh-roh


There are two ways to say mother and father -in-law, or parents-in-law in Italian.

The first is suocera e suocero (literally: mother-in-law and father-in-law), or suocere e suoceri (mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law).

However, because of how Italian word genders work, the plural masculine word suoceri (fathers-in-law) can be used for a mixed group with a mother-in-law and father-in-law: parents-in-law. This is true even if there are 100 mothers-in-law and 2 fathers-in-law: just one man trumps a feminine group and turns the noun masculine, to suoceri. So the word for parents-in-law in Italian is suoceri


As we have seen, Italian mothers-in-law have a reputation for giving their opinion and talking too much. Iin Italian this is called having a long tongue, or una lingua lunga. In keeping with this idea, there is a long, crunchy flatbread with rosemary from the northern Italian region of Piedmont called lingua di suocera, or mother-in-law’s tongue. Here is a quick video on how to make it: LINGUE DI SUOCERA


Mothers-in-law give their name to a sweet treat found at Italian street festivals and fairs: addormentasuocere, or candied almonds. The name playfully means put mother-in-law to sleep, like a sleeping pill for mothers-in-law. 


There are quite a few Italian idioms and sayings about mothers-in-law, and especially about their relationships with their daughters-in-law. Here is a choice selection:

Dire a nuora perché suocera intenda.
Direct translation: To make sure the mother-in-law finds out by telling the daughter-in-law.
Meaning: Send someone a message through someone else. 

Volersi bene come suocera e nuora.
Direct translation To love one another like a mother- and daughter -in-law.
Meaning: To not get along at all.

La suocera non pensa mai che la fu nuora.
Direct translation: A mother-in-law never remembers she was once a daughter-in-law. 

You may want to read more about Relatives in Italian.