You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Italian’ tag.

A person of outstanding merit who serves as a model of some quality. Anglo-French “peragone”=perfect jewel < Italian “parangone”=touchstone < Greek “parakonan”=to sharpen one thing against another < “para”=beside, next to + “akoni”=whetstone.


A decorated wooden frame that supports the coffin of an important person during a funeral or while lying in state. French “catafalque” < Italian “catafalco” < Latin “catafaltus”=scaffold.

The rapid repetition of of alternating musical tones to produce a vibrating effect. Italian “tremolo” < Latin “tremulus”=shaking, quivering < “tremere”=to tremble or shake.

In music, to play at a moderately low speed or pace. Italian “andare”=to go.

A greenish layer that forms on the surface of copper or bronze; a smooth shiny surface that gradually develops on wood or leather. Italian “patina” < Latin “patina”=shallow dish (sense of layer that develops after lots of use for cooking).

The art of making women’s hats. Toponym from Italian “Milano”=the city of Milan, from where women’s hats and apparel were made < Latin “Mediolanum,” the chief city of Lombardy.

An unfair practice where powerful people give jobs and favors to relatives. French “n├ępotisme” < Italian “nipote” < Latin “nepos”=nephew.

Person who rides as a guide on the near horse of one of the pairs attached to a coach. French “postillon” < Italian “postiglione”=courier, post-boy < “posta”=mail, post + “-illa”=diminutive suffix.

A ridiculous but amusing person; a clown. French “buffon” < Italian “buffone”=jester, clown < Latin “buffare”=to puff (fill cheeks with air) – a comic gesture.

A fortress usually located on high ground above a city. Italian “citadella” < “citta”=city + “ella”=diminutive (little city) < Latin “civitas”-community, state.

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