Translated by Alanna Quintyne

In this article, I am going to talk about how to use Ormai in Italian. This can be a tricky word because it can change its meaning according to the context.

I decided to talk about the word Ormai, after an explicit request of a student of mine. Although his level is very high, and he has no particular problems with the Italian language, he was not able to understand the deep meaning of Ormai and all its linguistic nuances.
In the following text, I tried to make the explanation as simple as possible, and hopefully, you will understand how to use Ormai.

Besides the word Ormai, I already wrote an article about Proprio. Take a look!

In Italian, there are some words that, seemingly simple, can prove to be a nightmare for those who learn this language. These are words not easily translated into other languages, and when you do it, they can lose their essence.

After having already talked about the word Proprio, I decided to write an article about Ormai, even this time following an explicit request from a student of mine.
Although his level is very high and his comprehension and speaking’s problems practically null, he had some difficulties in grasping the deep meaning and the various nuances of the word Ormai.

For this reason I will explain, as easy as I can, the uses and the meanings of this word, focusing on grammar only if strictly necessary.


The word Ormai can be translatad into English using by now. The sentences formed by the word Ormai, express a value highly subjective. Through the use of this word, we express regrets for situations considered irremediable or inevitable. A classic example is the exclamation: “Ormai!”, which indicates that there is nothing left to do, it is too late, everything is lost. But, are there other words that can replace the word Ormai at best? Take a look!

1. Ormai used us At this point/At that point

  • Ormai dovresti sapere cosa fare della tua vita. (A questo punto dovresti sapere cosa fare della tua vita.) = At this point, you should know what to do with your life.
  • Ormai ci eravamo persi l’inizio del concerto. (A quel punto ci eravamo persi l’inizio del concerto) = At that point, we had missed the beginning of the concert.

2. Ormai used as Almost

  • Siamo ormai giunti alla fine del viaggio. (Siamo quasi giunti alla fine del viaggio) = It’s almost the end of our journey.
  • Non mi serve più il tuo aiuto, ormai sto per finire la ricerca. (Non mi serve più il tuo aiuto, sto quasi per finire la ricerca) = I don’t need your help anymore. I have almost finished the research.

3. Ormai come finally

  • Stiamo ormai arrivando a destinazione. (Stiamo finalmente arrivando a destinazione) = We are finally reaching our destination.
  • Ormai hanno capito tutti che razza di persona sei. (Finalmente hanno capito tutti che razza di persona sei) = All of them have finally understood what kind of person you are.

4) Ormai come already

  • Non regaliamogli più giochi, ormai è un ometto. (Non regaliamogli più giochi, è già un ometto) = Do not give him more games: he is already a little man.
  • Ormai conosco lo stile di quello scrittore e ne sono affascinata. (Conosco già lo stile di quello scrittore e ne sono affascinata) = I already know the style of that writer, and I am fascinated by it.

Pay attention to the word Ormai

As the Treccani encyclopedia states, the meanings and functions of this word are not always univocal because this adverb expresses a subjective attitude to facts and situations.

We have to remember also that synonyms have a similar meaning, but it is not exactly the same, and situations and contexts have a strong influence. See the following examples:

  • Ormai sono le otto. = It’s too late.
  • Già sono le otto. = It’s getting late.

In these two examples, the meaning of the sentences is not the same. The first sentence gives us a feeling of regret for having lost too much time or failed to do something. The second sentence tells us that the time has passed quickly and the feeling is neutral and not anymore so negative. If I want to continue these sentences, I will probably write.

  • Ormai sono le otto, andiamo a casa. = It’s too late, let’s go home.
  • Già sono le otto, sbrighiamoci. = It’s getting late, hurry up!


Despite the difficulties that this word could give you, do not be afraid to become familiar with it! Read a lot, and when you come across this word, try to identify the synonym that can replace it better than the others. With some time and some practice, you will always become more confident and aware of the words you will choose.

Do you want to practise with my free exersises? Take a quiz!

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