Come sta, signorina?

Is “signorina” actually still used? I have heard it is at best fusty and outdated and at worst pretty “non-PC”. If not, how junior does “signora” go, and is everyone else simply the universal “ragazzi/e”?

I would love a madrelingua perspective…

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I’ve always been called Signorina by charming (and perhaps flattering) Italians. Signorina was commonly used on my last trips to Lucca and Venice. Friends in Lucca and Legnano seem quite happy with it. I don’t recall it ever being described as “fusty” and outdated or non PC, otherwise Italians would not be using it so liberally. Ragazzi and ragazze are still “cool” according to i miei amici;-)

Sorry, not a madrelingua, just adding the thoughts of a signorina-cum-signora;-D


This echoes what my friends in Milan say:

" Traditionally speaking, signorina refers to any unmarried woman. However, these days, it is considered more politically correct to address all women as signora regardless of their martial status, especially in a professional context. The only exception is perhaps teenage girls and very young women who haven’t yet entered university or the working world."


I can only repeat my previous comments. It varies all over Italy and I remain happy and not a little flattered when I’m called Signorina in Lucca, Venice, Florence and Roma. But then I’m not a feminist which perhaps makes quite a difference. Please Italy, keep calling me Signorina! ;-D


It seems more a northern thing. It wouldn’t bother me personally either. But I do find it an interesting instance of language shift.

In the USA there are places where the title of address “Ma’am” is de rigueur for politeness, places where it is seen as a funny and archaic word, and places where it is seen almost as an insult.