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The Italian Word “Capiche”: The Meaning and Spelling in English

Capiche has its roots in Latin from the Latin word capere, which means “to take, catch, comprehend.”

Nina Stankovic
Nina Stankovic

Capiche with a question mark at the end of the sentence is used to ask if someone understands. It is an informal word, more like slang.

Capiche has its roots in Latin from the Latin word capere, which means “to take, catch, comprehend.” This pseudo-Italian slang phrase means “do you get what I’m saying?” or “do you understand?”

It was originally used in the early 19th century, primarily in a slang sense in the United States. During those years, Italy was infamous for its international mafia. If someone is intimidated in Italian, it would be more valuable than threatening in any other language.

The expression becomes popular in the early 1940s. Even today, and even if there is no question mark at the end of the sentence, the word “capiche” can mean a threat.

The word “capiche” is used a lot in fictional books. When used to question someone whether they understand, capiche implies that the one inquiring has the power to make their listener’s life difficult.

Capisce or Capiche?

Are you wondering if the right spelling is capisce or capiche? The problem is that there is no correct spelling for this informal slang translation of the Italian phrase capisci, and both spellings are common and frequently used.

There are other variations of spelling capisci which are capische and capeesh. However, there are significantly less prevalent and sometimes erroneous.

How to Pronounce Capisce?

This often humorous word has two short syllables and is pronounced “kuh-peesh” in English. However, the Italian pronunciation is a bit different—“Cah-PEE-Sheh.” Regardless of spelling, the pronunciation of words is always the same.

How to Use Capisce in a Sentence?

We use this phrase typically at the end of a question mark sentence. It is commonly used by Americans who impersonate Italian to describe a request, command, or order. Gangster is another association to capisce.

It is properly seen in a sentence to ask someone if they understand what you are saying. It can also be used to confirm an agreement between two people.

See examples in the sentences below.

Sentence Examples

Maria and I will go for the three-day business trip. You have to water the plants during that time, capisce?
Let’s meet tomorrow at 3 PM, at your place. Your place, capische?
I want my money back by the end of the day today. Capisce?
I capisce, you want your money back today!

Synonyms

  • Get it
  • Comprehend
  • Understand
  • Get to the point
  • Grasp
  • Catch
  • Get the picture

Final Thoughts

The meaning of the word capisce is unambiguous, and it means “Do u understand?” or “Do u get it?” Initially, it was an Italian word, but it was adapted to the English language, and today it is used as American slang.

It is an informal way to ask someone are they get what you are saying. Also, you can use it among friends because it can be seen as a threat. In a sentence, we use it at the end with a question mark. It has many spelling variations, but the most common are capisce and capiche.

Some people say that it is not polite to use it in conversation.

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Nina Stankovic

I have a Master's Degree in Physics and a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Science. I have a general interest in technology, the environment, travel, and spirituality.


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