When speaking of the dead, my grandparents always prefaced the name with what phonetically sounded like "aboonamada". I have heard/used the term "buonanima" when referencing the passing of others, but cannot figure out the exact translation or correct spelling of the phrase my grandparents used. Thank you for any assistance.

My spelling was English phonetics. Grandparents were from Naples, came to the US as adults in the 1940's.

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    Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 17:47
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    @ARC106: Then it may be the expression 'a bonanima.
    – Charo
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 7:56
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    You can also find it in this dictionary, with the example "A bonanima ’i zi’ Nicola". A variant "bonanema" appears in another example.
    – Charo
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


I am from Naples, I am rather confident that they used the expression "'a bonanima", which literally translated into English would be "the good soul". 'A bonanima 'e zio Vincenzo". Or, in another form, you would just insert the word as an interjection: "The other day I was thinking about uncle Antonio, bonanima, and I remembered our interesting conversations...". I give you a couple of references where the expression is used:

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