Often in school in the US teachers prepare collections of photocopied notes and exercises to give to students. They are usually bound by a single staple in the corner. I'm not entirely sure of whether this practice exists in Italy, but as a teacher in the US, I am often looking for this term.

The closest that I have found is fascicolo, but I wonder if this is closer to the English dossier which would not be accurate.

Can somebody who went to school in Italy provide me with the appropriate term for this?

  • In Spanish and in Catalan, we say dossier, but I don't know which is the term in Italian.
    – Charo
    Apr 28, 2016 at 19:27
  • Interesting ... dossier in English usually refers to a file the government (or other entity) puts together about your activities when they want to build a legal case against you.
    – gbutters
    Apr 28, 2016 at 21:43
  • 3
    "Dossier" is used as a loan word also in Italian, with the same meaning you described (not necessarily governmental, could be related to journalism or medical facts), i.e. a set of information about a topic/individual. A generic collective noun for a set of related "paper copies" of something/sheets of paper is a "plico" (plico di fotocopie). The more precise one, related to education, is "dispensa", as pointed out in an answer below Apr 29, 2016 at 7:35

3 Answers 3


I believe that the proper term is dispensa, sometimes used in the plural form which is dispense.

  • (dispensa universitaria,) sintesi delle lezioni tenute da un docente durante l'anno accademico. (Sabatini Colletti)

By the way, I've only seen this happening when I was a university student.

  • 2
    I'll add that the English term handout is gaining traction inside the university (funnily enough I've heard it very often but only from humanities students)
    – Denis Nardin
    Apr 29, 2016 at 12:18
  • 1
    @DenisNardin I've never heard about it.
    – A. Darwin
    Apr 29, 2016 at 12:43
  • I think it's referring to sheets of paper containing long extracts of the text or photos of inscrptions that is analyzed during a seminar, so that the audience can follow what's going on (the friends that told me are for the most part in phylology or epigraphy)
    – Denis Nardin
    Apr 29, 2016 at 12:50
  • In Australia, we wouldn't understand "packet of paper" - handout certainly though! Most likely I'd assume
    – Tim Malone
    May 5, 2016 at 22:44

I'm Italian and I don't know terms for your description. When I went to the pre-university school teachers give rarely photocopies. I remember some generic terms like 'schede' for example.

  • Welcome to Italian.SE!
    – Charo
    Apr 29, 2016 at 9:44
  • I have also heard the term scheda used to refer to a handout, but not a collection of handouts
    – gbutters
    Apr 29, 2016 at 11:08
  • 3
    I've heard schede or even fogli (!) to describe long handouts, often of several pages
    – Denis Nardin
    Apr 29, 2016 at 12:22

In elementary school and middle school, they are referred as schede. In high school the term fotocopie is much more common.

This is because thinking about the teacher giving you a scheda might even make you feel childish or something, although this is subjective.

At the university, a handout is almost always called dispensa.

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