In Italian "-one" suffix makes the noun as "big one" and "-ino" makes it "small one"; What about those words that basically has suffixes "-one" or "-ino" by their own such as torrone? Is there any exception that doesn't follow this rule?

  • 2
    Why do you think it means small tower?
    – user519
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 10:11
  • 1
    Where is “here”?
    – DaG
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 10:19
  • 1
    If the question is just “what does torrone mean”, it can be answered by any dictionary, even an English monolingual one. If it really is “why torrone means small tower”, it is simply nonsensical.
    – DaG
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 10:35
  • 1
    "Torrone" is a Christmas candy made with sugar, honey and toasted almonds, but the origin of the word has nothing in common with "torre" (tower); instead it maybe derives from "torrere" which is to toast" in reference to one of its ingredients. See here for other possible explanations: etimo.it/?term=torrone Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 14:35
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    @Armin: We put your question "on hold as off-topic" because, in the way it's stated now, it makes no sense. But maybe you may reword your post so as to ask something with sense and that is not simply "what's the meaning of torrone?", which can be easily solved looking at a dictionary.
    – Charo
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 19:43

2 Answers 2


There are no “exceptions” because there is no “rule”.

And the “rule” not being such works both ways: there are many words you can't affix -one to to mean a big specimen, unless jocularly (pane is “bread”, but no one would say seriously panone); and there are many, many words that end in -one without implying that there is the big version of something, but just happen to end in -one, like the above mentioned torrone, and mattone, bottone, furgone, montone, ottone, canzone, procione, regione, cotone and lots more.

Moreover, there are words in -one that are related to another one, but have taken a different, specific meaning: for instance a cassetto is a drawer, but a cassettone is a chest of drawers, not a big drawer; similarly with calza and calzone, carta e cartone, santo and santone, neutro and neutrone and so on. Or subtler cases where the meaning of “big” remains, but the words are nonetheless used only in some contexts, not as a generic big item of that kind: a guantone is used only for boxing or baseball, not for a generic big guanto (glove), and analogously for tromba and trombone, tenda e tendone...

All of the above, of course, also apply to -ino.


In addition to what @DaG said (there are no rules), there are some ways to make an accrescitivo or diminutivo of words that happen to end with -one or -ino.

One technique is to use the alternative suffixes -cione and -cino. In the case of torrone, the smaller version of if would be torroncino. Jokingly, one could also construct words like torroncinone (a big small torrone).

In other cases, to make a diminutive of a word that ends in -ino, one can change the suffix to -etto or -uccio. A small or young bambino (that is already small or young by definition), would be a bambinetto, for example. However, being the diminutive of something that is already small, words like these usually carry some additional context-dependant meaning.

In yet other cases, you just cannot use a suffix. For example, from the word passione you could construct passioncina, but a word like *passionona would sound too weird (at least to my ears).

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