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

Goods that are brought into a country illegally, often to avoid taxes. Spanish “contrabanda”=smuggling < Italian “contrabando+unlawful dealing < Latin “contra”=against + “bandun”-edict, proclamation.


A person who knows a subject thoroughly, often in relation to the fine art; a connoisseur. Italian “cognoscente” < Latin “conoscente”=knowing man < “cognoscere”=to get to know < “co-“=together + “noscere”=to know.

To move forwards quickly without control, making sudden sideways movements; to turn a ship on its side to make repairs. Italian “carena” < Latin “carina”=the keel of a ship.

A very close copy of something else. Italian “replica”=repetition of a note in music or a work of art < “replicare”=to reply.

Lacking the money to be able to pay of debts. Italian “banca rotta”=broken bench (from the practice of breaking the market stall of a debtor) < Latin “bancus”=market stall + “rompere”=to break.

The solid posts on each side of the notches at the top of a castle wall. French “merlon” < Italian “merlone” < Latin “merulus”=blackbird – the posts look like blackbirds on a wall.

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.

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