How does one say that something is long overdue in Italian?

For instance, is it correct to say something like "Fa molto tempo che sia in attesa"?

  • consider also the colloquial form "scaduto da un pezzo".
    – magma
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 12:50

5 Answers 5


It depends on the context.

If it's past the deadline / expected date:

(Qualcosa) è (ben) oltre la scadenza prevista.

If it's something that has been promised long time ago:

È da (tanto) tempo che lo/la si aspetta.

If it's something that should have been done before something else or just long time ago:

(Qualcosa) avrebbe dovuto essere fatto prima / avrebbe dovuto essere fatto (tanto) tempo fa.

Essere in attesa, as you've suggested, has connotation of "being pregnant, being expecting a child." If that's the context, then one could simply say ritardo della nascita or la nascita si fa attendere.

  • 2
    I'd use "(qualcosa) è ben oltre la scadenza prevista". Otherwise it is just overdue :-) Same for the third example.
    – mau
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 10:40
  • Right. Thanks, @mau. I've edited the answer. :)
    – I.M.
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 12:18
  • Also a passive form for the second case: “A lungo atteso/a”
    – Agos
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 15:17

In addition to what I.M. already put in his answer I wanted to add that a generic overdue time is often called "ritardo".

This is valid in many cases:

"The job was completed past its due time" = "il lavoro è stato finito in ritardo"

"She arrived late" = "(Lei) è arrivata in ritardo"

and many other cases generically referring to something that was expected earlier than when it eventually happened, including childbirth, menstruation, intellectual development of a child, traveling, somebody slow in understanding a joke, etc...


I think the closest translation to long overdue is scaduto da molto (tempo). Example:

La bolletta e` scaduta. ( the bill's long overdue )

Da domani i Buoni Postali saranno scaduti. ( the bonds will be expired, by tomorrow )

Questo cibo e` scaduto. ( this food is past its sell-by date )


"E' da un sacco di tempo che stiamo aspettando."

It can be written as:

"E' da un sacco che stiamo aspettando"


I think you wish to keep the -due- component, where it has some duty related force. Indeed due is derived form latin debeo, debēre, debui, debitus which I understand can be translated by to owe, ought (you owe debt to the govt)

A almost literal translation is indeed possible

il riconoscimento a lungo dovuto finalmente è giunto
la risposta che ha lungo ti dovevo oggi ti invio

(la seconda suona forse un poco ricercata)

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