I have translated teacher into Italian. There is: insegnante, istruttore, maestro, professore.

I am studying the diffeence between them.

Which one of them is a high school teacher? How about art school teacher? How about instructor in car driving? Is one of them a hypernym?

hypothesis: professore is a teacher at a university

Thank you.


2 Answers 2


All those translations are correct, but they heavily depend on the situation you are using them. Teacher is, by definition, someone who teaches, and all those four words in Italian refer to someone who are giving you a lesson about something. The first one, insegnante, is probably the one with a broader meaning, it can be applied to your salsa instructor or your high school teacher, but also to your driving instructor. Literally, it means "someone who teaches". Istruttore instead is linked with professional instructors, again your salsa instructor is okay, your guitar teacher too, and if you do rock climbing and someone is teaching you, that's an istruttore as well, it is the literal translation of instructor, and it applies in the same context. However you wouldn't call a teacher or a university professor "istruttore".

Maestro and Professore deserve a different paragraph. Traditionally, they are both linked with school teaching, Maestro with junior and elementary schools, while Professore is used from middle school to the university. However, Maestro has become synonym of "Top" in a discipline, originally it was used for orchestra directors as they were the best among the musicians, but nowadays it is used in a broader range of cases, including junior and elementary schools.


Maestro / Maestra : childhood or elementary school.

Professore / Professoressa: from middle school to university.

Istruttore : proper for a non-scholastic course, or a course held in a university but not included in any syllabus (like an extracurricular activity).

Moreover, a "maestro/a" is also referred to a musician or music professor, as well as ballet dancers/instructors. I've also heard usage of "maestro" in some sports contexts, such as Judo or Karate, but I don't exactly know how proper or common this is.

The important thing is just to not refer to a "professore" as a "maestro": that is generally considered rude.

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