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Are accordo and intesa perfect synonyms, or are there cases where one is used instead of the other one? For example, in the following sentences, could I replace accordo with intesa?

Abbiamo firmato un accordo per mantenere la proprietà degli immobili in Via Marconi.

C'è un accordo tra di noi: non faccio concorrenza a te se tu non fai concorrenza a me.

Siamo d'accordo: domani firmiamo il contratto di locazione.

  • Why don't you explain why, in your opinion, they would not perfectly interchangeable in order to have a better focused answer? – Kyriakos Kyritsis Nov 6 '13 at 19:55
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    I didn't say they are not perfectly interchangeable; I am asking if they are perfectly interchangeable, or not. – kiamlaluno Nov 6 '13 at 20:25
  • kiamla, and what is the difference, if I may ask, please? – Kyriakos Kyritsis Nov 6 '13 at 20:28
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    The difference is that I didn't take any position about the topic. I am simply asking what is true. – kiamlaluno Nov 6 '13 at 20:32
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    Sorry, I don't ask a question because I have an opinion; I ask a question because I don't know something. Do you ask "What time is it?" because you have an opinion about what time is? An opinion is needed for debates, not when asking a question. – kiamlaluno Nov 6 '13 at 20:44
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Accordo and intesa do overlap in meaning when used as “agreement”, though accordo is used more regarding to opinions and intentions and intesa with ideas and sentiments [from Sabatini Coletti dictionary]. They also have other meanings which do not overlap — for example, accordo can mean “chord” and intesa can mean “harmony” (between persons).

In the first two of your examples, accordo is used as synonim of “contract” and “pact” respectively, and as such can not be substituted with intesa.

In the last example, one could use intesa, though the form would need to be changed slightly (“abbiamo un’intesa”).

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They are synonyms, indeed, and sometimes accordo could be replaced with intesa. The meaning could shift, however:

  • Abbiamo firmato l'accordo means usually the final agreement, while Abbiamo firmato l'intesa can mean also the protocol of intentions.
  • C'è un accordo tra di noi - we always do something in this way, C'è un intesa tra noi - we are on the same page or we have good relations (including working relations).
  • Siamo d'accordo - we have agreed upon it, Siamo d'intesa - we have agreed how we do it.

There are some more examples here.

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    I've never heard "siamo d'intesa". Moreover, I don't agree with the second: "c'è un'intesa tra noi" means more that we share some feeling and opinion about the context we are in, not that we're going to do something. So you'd say "c'è una bella intesa tra noi" to mean that you like that person, you feel he/she's like you. – martina Nov 6 '13 at 21:41
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    @martina Neither have I! It sounds really weird. Nonetheless, the dictionary says that it's possible to "essere d'intesa sul da farsi, sul come provvedere". I also agree with you about "c'è un'intesa fra noi" meaning more like "we are on the same page; we are good about our relations (including working relations)". – I.M. Nov 6 '13 at 22:18

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