The word "tanto" means "a lot".

However, I have also known it as used as an interjection, conveying the meaning of somewhere in between "however", and "whatsoever".

I wonder how common this usage is across Italy.

The example that comes to mind is of the form (where B answers no also letting out the fact the shiggers and the depression for the indifference):

A: Non sei andato alla riunione? >:(?

B: Tanto. :-/


  • 2
    Do you recall a full sentence in which it was used with this meaning? It would help making the question clearer. Feb 12, 2023 at 9:19
  • 2
    Tanto has many more nuances than just “a lot”. Its main meaning is “so much/so many” (correlated with something else), but it's also used in lots of idiomatic ways. See treccani.it/vocabolario/tanto, where I believe the use you are referring to is one of those covered in 4.b, 4.c or 4.d.
    – DaG
    Feb 12, 2023 at 13:19
  • Thank you for your comments. I have updated my post. Feb 15, 2023 at 5:42

1 Answer 1


I can think about different usages of "tanto" that have little to do with "a lot".

Imagine you are considering the purchase of a tool and finding a reason to spend a significant amount of money on a good quality one, rather than getting a cheap one that you are sure is of less quality. A justification, to yourself or to others, could be "Tanto lo usero' per molti anni", translated as "(I choose the good quality one for the valid reason that) I will use it for many years to come".

Another usage could be, among children trying to catch one another, is "Puoi correre veloce quanto vuoi, tanto non mi prenderai mai", translated as "You can run as fast as you can, however you will never catch me".

Another usage: "Lascia pure le scarpe a portata di mano [invece che metterle via nell'armadio] tanto usciremo ancora tra poco", translated as "Feel free to leave your shoes handy [rather than store them away] because we'll go out again shortly".

Edit: As indicated by DaG in comments, the usage you have referred to is covered by case 4.c. in treccani.it/vocabolario/tanto. To the question "Non sei andato alla riunione?", getting the answer "Tanto" would be understood as "Sarei potuto andare alla riunione; tuttavia, non sarebbe servito a nulla": I could have attended the meeting; however, it would have been pointless since it would have changed nothing in the outcome.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.