In a sentence like "This is an overkill solution", with the purpose of conveying the idea that the proposed solution does too much and should be discarded in favour of a simpler one.

This is a list of translations that I find sub-optimal:

  1. Una soluzione esagerata
  2. Una soluzione troppo complicata
  • 5
    "eccessivo" is usually a good "default translation" for "overkill". May 30, 2014 at 10:27
  • 2
    It's very contextual, but it's still worth mentioning (mostly because it's a fun related fact). In the videogame Final Fantasy X if you killed an enemy by dealing far more damage than his remaining health, it would count as "Overkill" and give you more rewards. The term was localized in Italian as "Ultracidio" . Dec 12, 2016 at 11:46

4 Answers 4


Your point 2 is not correct; it means a solution too difficult to realize or something like that. Your point 1 is near the meaning but I don't know if it's exactly right—probably it is—and I think it depends on the situation.

For example, if you have too much information (like duplicate fields in a database), you say it is redundant – "ridondante". If an electronic device can handle a bigger voltage than needed, you say it's "sovradimensionato".

  • 1
    I don't agree that the second isn't correct. Questa è una soluzione troppo complicata, trovane un'altra does not imply that the solution cannot be realized. In fact it's probably too vague, it doesn't completely give the meaning of overkill because it is too broad: why is the solution troppo complicata? The sentence simply doesn't provide an answer without more context.
    – Bakuriu
    May 29, 2014 at 18:20

I don't think Italian has a perfect equivalent of the word overkill. You can use different terms in different situations.

Translating it as eccessivamente complicato isn't optimal because overkill implies the existence of a much simpler alternative, while this translation does not give this suggestion.

Translating it with esagerato comes probably closer to the inteded meaning, although it's not clear that the exaggeration is in the (avoidable) complexity of the solution. Depending on the context it may be a perfect match or not.

However there is an idiomatic sentence that provides exactly that meaning:

Questa soluzione è come sparare ad una mosca con un cannone.


This solution is like shooting a fly with a cannon.

Which, according to this thread in the word-reference forum, would be well suited to be translated as overkill.

I believe it conveys the correct meaning: the solution is too complicated for the given task. You are doing something that can be avoided, reducing complexities and obtaining the same results.

  • 2
    I agree that "sparare..." conveys the same meaning, so as a general answer to my question it works. Unfortunately, I need to translate "overkill" in a context where that expression would be considered inappropriate.
    – d-cmst
    May 29, 2014 at 21:04

without the full context it is difficult to come up with a good translation.

I am thinking at something like "non ne vale la pena" ("it it not worth"), but as I wrote it depends from the context.

  • 1
    roughly speaking, the context is a simple math problem that can be solved using arithmetic only but instead is solved using algebra. The algebra solution is the overkill solution. This will go on print in a textbook for math teachers, so I can't use "sparare a..."
    – d-cmst
    May 30, 2014 at 9:38
  • 3
    in that case, I would use "scegliere la via algebrica per giungere alla soluzione è eccessivo"; or I would change the focus and say "si può giungere alla soluzione per via algebrica, ma è molto più semplice usare la semplice aritmetica".
    – mau
    May 30, 2014 at 10:23
  • 1
    I could do that, yes, but I'd like to keep some "overkill" equivalent, since the word is there in the original English text. That's why I asked the question in the first place.
    – d-cmst
    May 30, 2014 at 11:52
  • 1
    Well, overkill has a lot of similarity with "sparare..." --- I would not notice that as out of context even in a math text. A bit on the informal side, maybe, but nothing more.
    – Rmano
    May 30, 2014 at 18:02

È una soluzione spropositata...

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