Venetian word of the day: Òe!

This is a word that anyone who’s been to Venice will have heard being shouted out of the mouths of gondoliers. It means, ‘hello there!’ and it used by boatmen at crossroads—or should that be crosscanals—to alert other canal users to their presence.

If there is another boat around the corner, the driver should respond ‘òe!’ If however, the other boat user in a gondola, sandolo, or any other kind of rowing boat, they should reply ‘òe pope!’ Hearing this, the boat user will keep left, to allow the rowing boat to pass to the right so there is space for their oar.

Other responses used by rowing boats include, ‘òe premando’ (I’m turning left) and ‘òe stagando’ (I’m turning right). Next time you’re in Venice, position yourself on a bridge near an intersection and listen out for the shouts.

2 thoughts on “Venetian word of the day: Òe!”

  1. Allan Williams

    I’ve often been on bridges, heard those calls, and wondered whether there were variations and significance to the sounds that was more than just “Look out!”. Thank you Luca.

  2. Robert Levrini

    I was so thrilled to have taken a voga lesson on my trip. Using those words and phrases is part of the training. To row like of gondolieri and shout out those words was an experience I shall never forget. Having had the experience, I now have more respect for the profession. Thank you Luca for sharing this.

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