AS Roma’s recent hiring of Jose Mourinho as coach has sparked more than one question in the English-speaking world, where even Sky Sports in the UK wondered about the meaning of a tweet from the coach announcing “Daje!”
There is no single meaning for this Roman dialect word (it’s not Italian).
It comes from the verb “dare” (to give), but like many words, it needs to be contextualized. Indeed, the very context in which it is encountered can determine a difference in meaning, even considerable.
Let’s look at some examples.
First, it can express approval, as when you say:
“Perché non andiamo al cinema stasera?” “Daje!”
“Why don’t we go to the movies tonight?”| “Of course!”
As a second meaning, it can serve as an invitation to finish something:
“Dovresti aver già finito, daje!”
“You should be done by now, come on!”
Another meaning is to urge someone to do better:
“Non devono vincere loro, daje!”
“They must not win, c’mon guys!”
There are also a several variations:
“Daje e daje” is used when one wants to express a behavior or event that is repeated and has effects:
“Daje e daje, è riuscito a riconquistare il suo posto di lavoro”
“By persevering, he managed to win his job back”.
“Aridaje” has a negative connotation and indicates something unwelcome or that annoys if repeated:
“Aridaje, ancora vieni a chiedere un aumento di stipendio?”
“Aridaje, still coming to ask for a pay raise?”
“Daje de” is used when you want to indicate the need to add or use something in the execution of an action:
“Faremo tardi se vai così piano. Daje de acceleratore!”
“We’re going to be late if you go this slow. Push that gas pedal down!”
“La carne è poco gustosa. Daje de pepe”
“The meat is not very tasty. Daje de pepe”
The last meaning, the very one found in Mourinho’s tweet, expresses gratification or satisfaction about a favorable or pleasant event:
“Sai che ieri mi hanno ingaggiato come allenatore della AS Roma?” “Daje”
“Did you know that yesterday I was hired as AS Roma’s coach?” “Oh yeah!”
One final remark about pronunciation. Daje is pronounced with the “j” sounding as a “y”.
Hear it pronounced by a native Roman speaker.