What does mi raccomando mean in Italian?


Last Updated on November 29, 2023 by Laura Teso

By looking at the blog data, I noticed that some people are searching for this idiom. So I realized I had to do something. Well, what does mi raccomando mean in Italian?

What does mi raccomando mean?

It is beautiful idiom that Italians use very much. The correct pronounce is [mee rahk-koh-MAHN-doh]. It can be used at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

I know that it is often translated as “please” or “don’t forget”. But I do not think that those expressions convey its true meaning. At least, not always.

Even if it sounds similar to recommend, it is more similar to “entrust”, “confide, like I confide in you, for you to do as I suggest.

We use it giving advice or recommendations, to stress the fact that we particularly care about something. Like “I’m now saying to you that I care about this thing, I care for you to do it this way, and so you should pay attention”. And then, all we can do is hoping that the other person will do as we told him/her. So it is mostly used by parents 🙂 but also among friends… and in many situations on a daily basis.

Mi raccomando daily use examples

I often say to my nephew Filippo: “Do your homework, mi raccomando!”
Again to my nephew: “Mi raccomando, don’t be late!”
To someone who’s sick: “Get well soon, mi raccomando!”

The intent is to emphasize our request/advice, as if it could really help. It has also a sentimental value. You use it when you care about the other person and you’d like him/her to do what you suggest/hope for their own good. Often, to stress even more the fact that we are entrusting our hopes, we add an “eh” at the end: “Do not overwork yourself! Mi raccomando, eh!

It is not exactly a suggestion

When I first posted the short version of this post on Facebook, my reader Jill told me that “mi raccomando” is similar to “I suggest” in English. “I suggest you get well soon as lots of people can do your job” or “I suggest you go to your room young lady”. Well, (sorry, Jill) I thought about it and I am not convinced.

In this two cases in Italian we would use a different verb.

  1. In the first example, we would say “ti conviene guarire presto” or “è meglio che tu guarisca presto” (it is better for you to get well soon). Yes, we could say “Mi raccomando, get well soon”. But surely not with the second part regarding a possible replacement, it sounds wrong to me. We use “mi raccomando” as in “get well soon because I care, I’m worried, I want you to be safe and sound”.
  2. As for the second example, we Italians would not say “mi raccomando” to suggest a daughter to go to her room, because “mi raccomando” is just a “hint” we give, it is not an order or something. So we would rather say “Vai in camera tua, signorina!” (Go to your room, young lady) or “è meglio che tu vada in camera tua” or “ti conviene andare in camera tua” (both meaning it is better for you to go) but “mi raccomando” wouldn’t fit here.

Mi raccomando is not an order

If the young girl tells you “I should study another chapter of the book, but I am very tired” you can tell her “Do not overdo, go to your room to sleep, mi raccomando” in a kind manner, or “Try to finish it, mi raccomando”. But either way, they’re just hints, it is the other person who has to decide what to do in the end.

To suggest in Italian is “raccomandare” (nowadays less used) or “consigliare”. We would say Ti consiglio/raccmando un buon ristorante (I suggest you a good restaurant), ti consiglio/raccomando di fare qualcosa (I suggest you to do something), ti consiglio/raccomando di non agire così (I suggest you not to act this way).

But mi raccomando is a separate idiom, with a different, more sentimental and personal undertone.

Sentimental meaning

Just to let you understand better, I’d like to stress the sentimental component of this idiom. When I say to my nephew Filippo “Don’t be late, mi raccomando!” it doesn’t mean “I suggest you to be punctual” but “I put myself in your hands, I trust you, do not be late! You should be punctual not simply because you have to, but also because I’m asking you to do it, as a personal favour. I’d like for you to do it, so, please, for the love that you have for me, keep my word in mind, because I care for you and I know what’s best for you”. It doesn’t have a reprimand hint but a caring hint.

You can say it also with a pinch of irony. For example, if you already know that Filippo won’t do as you’re saying. But you say it anyway, because it is your role of Aunt to do so. It comes from your heart, it is not a order, simply you wish he would listen to you, mainly because of your sentimental bond.

A professor can say to their students: “Do your homework, mi raccomando!” but, still, it is not an order, it is a way to say he or she is counting on the students to do their homework.

It can also be used by itself. For example, when you part from a friend who later has an important work interview. You can simply say: Ciao. Mi raccomando! when you mean: please, stay calm, stay focused and try to do your best, I’m counting on you. Yes, all of that.

Possible translations

To sum up, depending on the context, mi raccomando means

  • Please (with a “trust me” meaning)
  • I’m counting on you
  • Pay attention
  • I really mean it
  • I confide in you

But, as you read in the post, this is way reductive to translate it. You have to understand its personal, emotional meaning.

So, did you understand what does mi raccomando mean? Well, then, continue reading my blog… Mi raccomando, eh!

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