What is the difference between Piccolo and Basso? They both mean Small, right??

2 Answers 2


Basso is not only short, and piccolo is not only small in size!

Piccolo, as laika remarked, can also mean "[very] young" when referred to a person. Basso can be used to refer to a small amount of money ("una cifra bassa", "uno stipendio basso"). We say basse aspettative ("low expectations"), while piccole aspettative sounds awkward. We say un piccolo problema ("a small problem") while un problema basso is absurd. Quantity can be piccola ("small quantity"), whereas quality can be bassa ("low quality").

Talking about sound, basso can mean "low-pitched" but also "low in volume". Basically, when you are not talking about people, basso translates to "low" in most cases, not "short", and it is not always about height...

Fun fact: Basso Medioevo means "Late Middle Ages"!

It's not that simple, and you should address each case individually depending on the domain.

  • I am not quite sure, I am just quoting from the other answer.
    – gd1
    Mar 12, 2015 at 20:08

Basso means small in height (so short) and piccolo small in size.

  • piccolo can also be "little" regarding age
    – laika
    Mar 12, 2015 at 13:58

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