La parola testone sta ad indicare, secondo i vocabolari (tra le varie cose) una persona testarda e ostinata, e in traslazione anche una persona di scarsa intelligenza. Credo che abbia un senso di bonario sfottò.

Posto che credo che l'uso di questa parola non sia omogeneo tra le regioni, ma che abbia una maggiore diffusione in alcune, vorrei sapere:

  1. dove è più usato;
  2. da dove viene l'antonomasia per cui l'accrescitivo del sostantivo "testa", che vorrebbe identificare una grossa testa, diventa nel significato invece una "testa dura", cioè una persona che non cambia idea o atteggiamento facilmente.
  • martina, as far as I know, and I know a lot of these things because I have lived both in the North and in the South Italy for many years, testone is used especially in the North. In the South, instead, people prefer capacchione. As for the second question, I think it is very difficult to answer, and, perhaps, testone could be not directly related to testa grande. Nov 21, 2013 at 0:21
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    in the north, one can equally say testina.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 21, 2013 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


Easy: a big head is a thick head!

In the South most words related with the head are created out of "capa" (from Latin "caput", head) instead of "testa" (Latin, "vase"). "Capa" and its derivatives are not part of standard Italian, but the masculine noun "capo" with the same meaning is. In the North you can find "crapa", whence "crapone" and similar forms with the same meaning as "testone", "capa tosta" etc.

In general I warn foreigners against any attempt at deriving general rules about Northern/Southern usage of words. Too messy and very often the divide is not just North vs South, it's about regions, provinces, sometimes even cities, and there's also a blurred line between regional speech and dialect (or dialect-derived Italian words). What can be more reasonably learned is which words can be understood everywhere, whatever their regional "flavour" is, and which cannot (e.g., "capacchione" or "testina" have no obvious meaning for all speakers).

  • Thanks, but I didn't want to explore the South vs. North usage, neither giving advice to learners about this. Moreover, to me it's not so straightforward that a big head metaphor could represent a stubborn person. Nov 21, 2013 at 12:33
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    @martina Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to question your intentions, I was just commenting on the approach frequently used by some foreign learners of the language who try and split Italian into two "versions". You're right about the metaphor, even if something like that exists also in English. I guess it's about being prepared to use your head to clear your way like a ram would do. :-) Nov 21, 2013 at 13:17

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