Insomma in english

Insomma in english DEFAULT

Insomma needn't keep you up at night: it's not insomnia (insonnia), just a common phrase you'll hear Italians use a couple of different ways.

Its primary definition is all in all, in other words, in short – like a much more conversational version of 'in sum'. Think of it a bit like the way we've come to say 'basically' in English.

Era sporco, scomodo e caro – insomma un disastro!
It was dirty, uncomfortable and expensive – all in all, a disaster!

Abbiamo bisogno, insomma, del buon senso. 
What we need, in other words, is common sense.

Mi piacciono molto le lasagne alla bolognese, ma anche quelle alla genovese o alle verdure; insomma mi piacciono tutte.
I really like lasagne bolognese, but also pesto or vegetable lasagne; basically I like them all.

And like 'basically', insomma also acts as a kind of verbal filler you can use when you want to move the conversation along – like saying 'well' or 'so'.

Insomma, siete pronti?
Well, are you ready?

Insomma, cosa ti hanno detto?
So, what did they say to you?

You'll also hear Italians resort to it when they're too exasperated to say much else.

Insomma, basta!
Alright, that's enough!

Ma insomma…!
For goodness' sake!

There's also an unwritten meaning in insomma: in spoken Italian it's come to serve as shorthand for saying you're not too keen on something or that it's just so-so, usually in response to a question.

If you're using the word this way, remember to throw in a laconic shrug or some 'meh' hand gestures.

– Ciao, come stai?
– Insomma…

– Hey, how are you?
– Can't complain…

– Ti stai divertendo?
– Insomma… 

– Are you having fun?
– Meh.

Do you have a favourite Italian word you'd like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.


What does insomma mean?

You may have already heard the word “insomma” several times. It is indeed one of the most used Italian filler words. It can have different meanings based on the context. This means that insomma does not have a single definition, and its use may not be as intuitive as other conversational words.

Here you can find a list of all the mean uses of insomma. Since Italian filler words are mainly used in the spoken language, it is not uncommon to find additional meanings. In other words, get ready to hear your Italian friends saying insomma at least once in every conversation!

In short, all in all

The first and primary meaning of insomma is “long story short”. Not surprisingly, insomma literally means “in sum”. For example, you could use it when you want to sum up a very long story you just told. Moreover, you can say insomma when you don’t want to share too many details about something that happened.

  • Insomma, la mia festa di compleanno è stata divertente! (All in all, my birthday party was fun)
  • Insomma, ci siamo sposati due anni fa (In short, we got married two years ago)

Basically, in other words

Similar to the previous meaning, insomma can be used to sum up a conversation, a state or a situation. If you wish to emphasise your idea or opinion, insomma is the right word to use.

  • Quell’uomo era antipatico e avaro. Insomma, una cattiva persona. (That man was unpleasant and greedy. Basically, a bad person.)
  • Abbiamo bisogno di una persona saggia. Insomma, di te. (We need a wise person. In other words, we need you)


Every language has its own filler words. For example, in English, we usually say “well” when we want to start a conversation or change the topic. In Italian, you can get the same result by using the word insomma.

  • Insomma, cosa facciamo oggi? (Well, what are we going to do today?)
  • Insomma, come sta tua madre? (So, how’s your mother?)

To express your feelings

There are cases where it is impossible to translate insomma into another language. This happens mainly when it is used to emphasise a particular word or to show exasperation or discomfort.

  • Insomma, basta! (Alright, that’s enough!)
  • Ma insomma, che noia! (For goodness’ sake, how boring!)

Sometimes, you are too anxious, angry and frustrated to say much else. If you wish to express this feeling in Italian, you can just exclaim: “Insomma!”. It does not really mean anything, but it is a popular way for Italians to translate their bad feelings into words.

To answer a question (whilst trying to be polite)

Insomma is widely used in spoken Italian. It often serves as a shorthand when someone is not really willing to answer a question. It is also a universal, laconic answer. If you don’t like or enjoy something, you can use it to let other people know without sounding too rude.

  • “Allora, ti piace questa torta?”. “Insomma…” (“So, do you like this cake?”. “So-so…”)

In this case, for example, you may not like that cake, and yet you do not want to sound completely rude. By using insomma, you are letting other people know your opinion, but you are not explicitly saying that you would rather not eat that cake.

  • “Ti stai divertendo a questa festa?”. “Insomma…” (“Are you enjoying this party?”. “So-so…”)

If you answer with “insomma”, the other person will immediately understand that you don’t really like that party. Basically, this word allows you not to say it directly or to provide a reason why you don’t like it.

  • “Allora, come sono andate le vacanze?”. “Insomma…” (“So, did you enjoy your holiday?”. “So-so…”)

In this case, maybe you enjoyed your holidays, but they were not as great as you wished them to be. By using insomma, you are subtly implying this, and you do not have to add any more explanation to your answer.

“How are you?” “Not so bad…”

If you ask your Italian friends how they are feeling, most of them might answer with “insomma”. As a general rule, this filler word is used to express that you are OK, but not that great really. When accompanied by a laconic shrug, it also has an ironic meaning (for example, you are clearly having a good time, but you are pretending you are not).

  • “Come stai?”. “Mah, insomma…” (“How are you?”. “So-so…”)
  • “Come va la dieta?”. “Insomma…” (“How your diet going?” “So-so…”)

In the second example, you can use insomma if someone asks you about your diet, while you have a chocolate cookie in your hands. Alternatively, you can just hide the cookie!

Insomma, you are ready!

Now you know all the secrets of the word insomma. You are ready to surprise your Italian friends with your knowledge of Italian filler words! Insomma, you are now one step closer to mastering this language!

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Insomma: a Versatile Filler Word

A very popular idiomatic, one-word expression comes up several times in a recent Yabla video. The proprietor of a beach club in Marsala uses insomma as filler, to mean "in other words," "basically," "I mean," "you know," "in short," "all in all." Sometimes, as in the example, there is no ideal translation. Insomma is one of those words you have to hear many times in different contexts with different inflections, and soon enough, you'll be using it, too.


E questo è quello che possiamo offrire qua, insomma, a Marsala, a Via Torre Lupa.

And this is what we can offer here, in other words, in Marsala on Via Torre Lupa.

Caption 19, Sicilia - Marsala - Casa vacanze Torre Lupa

 Play Caption


We have already talked about insomma and its different meanings in two other lessons, so check them out. Making insomma part of sentences will come with time because it has so many connotations, but let's briefly talk about one more way to use insomma by itself as an exclamation. It's often preceded by ma (but) to express indignation, impatience, or exasperation. Your tone of voice tells it all.

Ma insommavuoi smettere di rompere?
Hey, would you stop bugging me?


Like many one-word expressions, insomma is made up of two words: the preposition in (in) and the noun somma (sum, total, summary). Its meaning has evolved over time.


When things don't go as well as expected and someone asks you: come'è andato (how did it go)?, you can say insomma to say "so-so, not great".


Do a Yabla search of insomma to see plenty of examples of this versatile filler word.


Get exasperated at your cat or dog and use insommaor ma insomma!


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Italian - English Dictionary:

The word "insomma" can have the following grammatical functions:

adverb, interjection

Synonyms of the word "insomma":

We have found the following english words and translations for "insomma":


in short


in summary


so so



5.insomma (adverb)

in conclusion

6.insomma (adverb)

in sum

7.insomma (adverb)

the fact is

8.insomma (adverb)

to sum up

9.insomma (adverb)
Synonym: sinteticamente

in brief

10.insomma (adverb)

all in all

11.insomma (interjection)


12.insomma (interjection)



for heaven's sake!

So, this is how you say "insomma" in english.


Expressions containing "insomma":


come stai? — insomma...!

how are you? — not too bad

era sporco, scomodo e caro, insomma un disastro!

it was dirty, uncomfortable and expensive - all in all, a disaster!

insomma, sei pronta o no?

well, are you ready or not?

insomma, cosa ti hanno detto?

well, what did they say to you?

insomma, basta!

that's enough!

ma insomma!

for goodness sake!

ma insomma, vuoi smetterla?

stop it, for heaven's sake!

We hope that these expressions give you a good idea about how to use the word "insomma" in sentences.

Up to now, 2,241,063 words and expressions have been searched, among 11,878 today.

Tags: insomma, in short, in summary, so so, well, in conclusion, in sum, in summary



In english insomma

And an electronic thermometer. And what's that. Really toothbrushes. I've never seen anyone like that. - Yeah, I also see rubber for the first time, - Lena said, glancing at the strange brushes lying under the glass, - With thick.

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And Lera. His Lera. - Hello, - he says.

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