/prin·cì·pio/ “preen-chee-pyo”

Words by Bianca Pirrelli


From latin principium, derived from princeps ‘principe’. Because of historical reasons, the meanings associated to that word were “the first”, “the origin”; everything started from there.


The word “principio” has a double meaning: it can mean principle, as in precept, morals. It can also mean beginning, start, cause, origin.

With its strong opening characterized by a rolling r, the word “principio” assembles typical Italian sounds that make your fingertips come together and your hand fly in the air – I bet you are all making our favorite hand gesture now, aren’t you?

Its meaning of “beginning” brings a hopeful feel to it, and the word itself, as well as the concept it embodies, is full of potential. It indicates a start to something, birth or rebirth even. It is easily associated with months like September or January, when it is not unusual to start over, apply to that course we really like, make that infamous gym membership happen. September, in particular, is the perfect definition for “principio”; school and college start, routine kicks in. Somehow, we undertake a new journey, whatever that may be. It feels cozy and lively, just like the word itself.

“Principio” is also the origin or the cause to something. The first spark that ignites an event or action. We can also think about it as the start to our day; in that case, our “principio” is definitely the dawn. It is extremely heartening to contemplate the start of the day, the literal rise of the thing that keeps us alive. It is a moment full of hope and optimism for what is to come. And remember, it is always darkest before the dawn.

Word: Principio

photo by Nicola Picogna


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