If I wanted to say I am 100% Italian, which of the following phrases should I use?

  • Full blood Italian
  • Full blooded Italian

The reason I am asking is that in Italian, I would use the equivalent of blood.


3 Answers 3


You can use either form. They're both perfectly valid, and will be understood (with the caveat below about a potential misunderstanding). Here are usage figures from Google Books...

full-blood Eskimo - 893 results
full-blooded Eskimo - 3700 results

I chose to search for Eskimo rather than Italian because there's another sense to full-blooded that rarely applies to full-blood...

He let out a full-blooded cry

...where the meaning is forceful, whole-hearted (closely related to hot-blooded - inclined to powerful emotion, passionate; hot-tempered.) The stereotypical Italian is often portrayed as passionate/excitable, so there's more chance of full-blooded Italian being used with / understood as that second meaning.

To avoid any potential confusion/ambiguity, therefore, I'd advise going with full-blood Italian. You'll be slightly in the minority (but not in the wrong), and your intended meaning will always be understood.

EDIT: Here are usage figures for a couple of similar constructions, showing that there's no "grammatical principle" involved in whether such "adjectival" usages are based on a noun (blood), or verb (blooded)...

soft-top car (665); soft-topped car (40)
warm-blood animals (3K); warm-blooded animals (190K)

  • 1
    Though I don't doubt you that 'full-blood' is correct, I do have to say that I've never heard it said that way, and that until I read your post I'd have said it was incorrect. This could also perhaps be a US/UK distinction, I'm not sure. But this has been my experience, at any rate.
    – WendiKidd
    Apr 6, 2013 at 23:41
  • @WendiKidd♦: More likely a regional variation in your area, I think. As this NGram shows, full-blood is more common overall in both the US and the UK. It's true that he was a full-blood Indian (which is more likely to occur in the US than UK) has only 11 hits (as against 26 for he was a full-blooded Indian), but it surprises me that you weren't even aware of the "somewhat less common" usage. Apr 6, 2013 at 23:57
  • ...the corresponding figures for I am a full-blood/blooded Indian are 14/18. They're both used sufficiently often that I wouldn't distinguish them at all except for the "alternative meaning" caveat above. Apr 7, 2013 at 0:00
  • @FumbleFingers "Full blood" can be used as an independent noun, while "full blooded" cannot. For your conclusion to be valid, you need to count attributive uses of "full blood", not total uses.
    – user230
    Apr 7, 2013 at 15:24
  • @snailplane: I don't see why it makes any difference exactly how many instances of full-blood are "noun" usages. Both my Eskimo examples are clearly "adjectival", and will almost always mean genetically pure. My point is simply that whereas both forms are in fact used, full-blooded is potentially ambiguous. As proved by, for example, full-blooded fighter, where it always means feisty. So you may as well choose the unambiguous variant when you mean thoroughbred. Apr 7, 2013 at 16:01

Full-blooded is an adjective (with the hyphen) meaning thoroughbred or through both parents. Either of the following should be correct.

  • I am a full-blooded Italian.
  • I am an Italian and a full-blood.

I would say

I'm a full-blooded Italian.

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