My girlfriend is Italian and I've been learning Italian for some time now. I've always used "Fa senso" and she never corrected me. Recently I befriended a girl and when she heard me saying "fa senso", she promptly corrected me and said that "fare senso" meant "to be disgusted"!

I think it could be a regional thing, because my girlfriend is from the North and this girl is from central Italy.

The question is, am I correct? Is this just a regional difference or one of them is wrong?

2 Answers 2


Maybe your girlfriend did not want to be too picky on that one with you :)

As far as I know there is no regional difference: I would definitely interpret fa senso! as it's disgusting! and I would translate makes sense with ha senso (or, depending on the context è sensato).
(as a side note: I am from Milan)

A few examples:

I ragni mi fanno senso!
I am scared of spiders!

Dire una cosa del genere non ha senso
It does not make sense to say something like that

The Treccani dictionary, at senso says:

Molto com. nell’uso fam. l’espressione fare senso, di cosa che produce una impressione forte e non gradevole (simile a disgusto o ripugnanza) o un turbamento psichico in genere: vedergli perdere tutto quel sangue mi faceva senso; spettacoli di miseria che fanno senso.

Contenuto logico, contenuto d’idee sostanzialmente valido (in questa accezione si usa solo al sing.): cerca di dire cose che abbiano senso (o che abbiano un s. comune, con lo stesso sign.); per lo più in frasi negative: parole, frasi, discorsi senza s., privi di s., vuoti di senso; non c’è senso in quello che dici. Con sign. più ampio, anche riferito ad azioni e comportamenti: ciò che fai non ha senso, non ha giustificazione, è illogico, inopportuno, inutile, assurdo; e similmente: un mio intervento ora non avrebbe senso; una protesta da parte vostra sarebbe senza senso.

  • 5
    I perfectly agree. Let me only add that I have more than once heard “fa senso” in the sense of “it makes sense” as an explicit jocular mistranslation (just like, in the other direction, “stay in bell” for “sta' in campana”).
    – DaG
    Jul 17, 2014 at 20:21
  • A majority of Italians I hang with (including me) uses "fa senso" to mean "makes sense" when speaking Italian to English speaking people because it's funny. I must say, of the many "false friend expressions" this is the hardest one for me to say correctly in Italian if I've been speaking English for most of the day. Like DaG me and my friends also playfully "educate" our colleagues by sharing ridiculously literal translation of Italian expressions into English, a favourite of mine being "a full barrell and a drunken wife", a friend of mine says "in four and four eight". Aug 22, 2019 at 9:12

Yes, it could be due to regional way of expressing yourself. It could also be misinterpreted for "ha senso" which means it makes sense. You have to consider the whole sentence and then it will make sense..

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