Florentine typical expressions (part 3)

Ready for another set of florentine typical words and expressions? Here we go!

1) Ponte Santa Trinita, this could be confusing, since in Florence (and in the rest of Italy) trinity is trinità, with the accent on the last syllable.
But there is an exception: in Florence there is an ancient tradition to pronounce all the toponyms (and only them) that contain the word trinita with the accent on the third-to-last (i.e., antepenultimate) syllable. Technically, this is called a parola sdrùcciola (proparoxytone). So it is Ponte Santa Trìnita (not Ponte Santa Trinità), Piazza Santa Trìnita, Chiesa di Santa Trìnita (more precisely Basilica di Santa Trìnita). The reason is that trinita derives from the nominative case of the latin word: trìnitas.

2) bell’e, (the extended version is bello e [or bella e], never used though). Indeed this could be called the jolly florentine expression. It could be translated as “fine and” (or nice and, good and). It is used in the sense of “already”. I call it the jolly expression because you can practically use it everywhere, to denote yourself as a florentine. ;-) Some examples now. Hai visto questo libro? Sì, l’ho bell’e letto! (Did you see this book? Yes, I already read it). Vuoi un caffè? No grazie, l’ho bell’e bevuto! (Do you want a coffee? No thanks, I already had it!). Ricordati di pulire la stanza! L’ho bell’e fatto! (Remember to clean the room! I already did it!). So, it is up to your fantasy to use that. :-)

3) spèngere, it means to turn off. In Tuscany (not only in Florence) this is the most common variant, while the rest of Italy uses spegnere instead. The word is derived from the latin expingere, so that is more coherent for us to use spengere (and not spegnere). :-) Spengi la luce! (Turn off the light). Spengi il tuo cellulare! (Turn off your mobile phone!). Spengi la radio! (Turn off the radio!).

4) macellàro, it is a variant of macellaio (butcher).

5) con le mani in mano, it literally means with the hands in the hand. It is used to indicate a person who goes to a party, lunch, dinner or event in general, without bringing a present or something. È venuto alla festa con le mani in mano, vergogna! (he came to the party without a present, shame on him!).

6) smariméttere, it means to put hand on. It is used to indicate the action of opening (or starting) for the first time something, generally a food. Ho smarimesso il prosciutto, fantastico! (I started the ham, fantastic!). Ho smarimesso il barattolo (I started the jar). Ho smarimesso il formaggio (I started the cheese).

7) marmàto, it literally means “[made] of marble”. Indeed it is used to indicate something very cold (since the marble is cold). È troppo freddo, le tue mani sono marmate! (It’s too cold, your hands are very cold!). Alternatively, le tue mani sono ghiacce marmate! (Your hands are ice cold!). Ghiacce derives from ghiaccio (ice). Note also the ancient florentine variant of ghiaccio (in the sense of cold), which is diaccio.

8) fare a miccìno, it derives from the latin mica (crumb). It means to save, economize. Bisogna fare a miccino con il pane, altrimenti non ci basta oggi! (We have to save with bread, otherwise it’s not enough today!).

9) mòrvido, this is an ancient florentine variant of morbido (tender). Senti questa bistecca, l’è morvida come i’ burro! (Taste this steak, it’s tender like the butter!).

10) andare a Roma pe’ i’ Mugello, it literally means to go to Rome through Mugello. Since Rome is south of Florence, and Mugello is north, it means to take a longer way than necessary to go somewhere. Ha sbagliato strada, gl’è andato a’ Roma pe’ i’ Mugello! (He took the wrong direction [literally, street], he took a longer way!).

11) nìni, it means kid. It is used (sometimes jokingly) to call a person. Nini, non farmi perdere la pazienza! (Mate, don’t make me lose my patience!). Use this only with your friends. ;-) A common variant is nànni, diminutive of Giovanni (John).

12) dare le paste, it literally means to give the paste (plural of pasta). It means to win a race, or in general a sport competition with a huge margin on the others. Ha vinto la corsa, gli ha dato le paste! (He won the race, a big triumph!).

13) péna pòco, it is a synonym of spìcciati, sbrigati (hurry up). It could be translated as labor in a short time. È tardi, pena poco! (It’s late, hurry up!).

14) sìe, it is an emphatic way to say (yes). It is used in the sense of “oh please, come on”, with respect to an unexpected situation or to express your disagreement about something. Ehi, posso risolvere qualunque cubo di Rubick in 10 secondi! Sìeee, non ci credo! (Hey, I can solve whatever Rubik’s Cube in 10 seconds! Come on, I don’t trust you!).

15) pottóne, it means vain, conceited person. It is used to indicate a person who dresses or behaves vainly. Guarda che orologio d’oro ha, l’è un pottone! (Look the gold watch he has, he is a vain man!).

16) pùnto, not to be confused with the standard meaning dot or point, because in some contexts it’s used with the meaning of any, anything, at all. Non ho punti soldi! (I have no money at all!). Non dubito punto che hai ragione. (I don’t doubt at all that you are right).

17) fare tanto puzzo per nulla, it means to make too much stink without a reason (literally, for nothing). It is used to indicate a person who had an exaggerated reaction (complaining) with respect to a situation or thing. Ha fatto tanto puzzo per nulla, non ce n’era bisogno! (He complained too much, there was no need!).

18) ramerìno, it is a variant of rosmarino (rosemary).

19) sembrare una rificolóna, it is said of a woman who dresses heavily, in a showy way. It derives from the Festa della Rificolona, celebrated every year in Florence on 7 September, eve of Mary’s nativity. On this occasion, people and kids have a procession to Piazza Santissima Annunziata, each of them bringing a paper-made colored lantern called rificolona. Indeed a funny rhyme recited by kids during the event is ona ona ona/ma che bella rificolona/la mia l’è co’ fiocchi/la tua l’è co’ pidocchi (ona ona ona what a nice rificolona/mine has bows/yours has head lice).

20) schiccheràre, it means to drink. It is used to jokingly indicate a person who loves to drink, to get drunk. Guarda come schìcchera! (Look how he drinks!).

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