What is the difference between "bisnipoti" and "pronipoti"? Do they mean the same?

  • 3
    Yes, they mean the same: Pronipote: Figlio o figlia di un nipote o di una nipote, sinonimo di bisnipote (dizionari.corriere.it/dizionario_italiano/P/pronipote.shtml).
    – Hachi
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 17:22
  • 2
    Note that pronipote is also figuratively used to indicate the descendants of a family or dynasty.
    – Hachi
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 17:26
  • 1
    Can you write all this as an answer, please, @Hachi?
    – Charo
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 17:32
  • 1
    Quite curiously, the Sabatini-Coletti proposes 14th century for bisnipote and 17th century for bisnonno.
    – egreg
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 9:28
  • 1
    @Charo - capisco ma questa domanda è veramente too basic. Basta consultare un dizionario. Per cui off-topic.
    – Hachi
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 18:26

1 Answer 1


I see bisnipote attested from the 14th century and bisnonno from the 17th, which I find quite interesting and curious; pronipote is attested from the 15th century. (Source: Sabatini-Coletti.)

A bisnipote is usually a grandson's or granddaughter's child (in direct descent), whereas pronipote can also be used in extended meaning as a descendant of a collateral line. Somebody can be pronipote of a prozio: at some point the two have an ancestor in common with more than three steps. Two steps would make the two people cugini, three steps zio/zia and nipote. On the other hand, it's common in Italy to call cugini two people having in common a grandmother/grandfather.

Prozio/prozia is, according to the same dictionary, a mother's or father's uncle/aunt (17th century), but it's also used with more generations in between. However, if I had to address my mother's uncle, I'd simply use zio: prozio and, similarly, pronipote are rather formal and used for speaking of the person, not to the person.

Note that in Italian there is no distinction between granddaughter/grandson and nephew/niece: both are nipote.

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