'What does sexist mean?': What Italy Googled most in 2018

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Jessica Phelan - [email protected]
'What does sexist mean?': What Italy Googled most in 2018
Italians asked some good questions in 2018. And a few stupid ones. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Google has released its list of most-searched terms in 2018. What does Italians' search history say about the year in Italy?


Italians love the World Cup, even when they're not in it

'Mondiali' (World Cup) was the single most searched term in 2018, despite the fact that Italy failed to qualify for football's biggest contest.

It also topped the list of events searched for in what was an exceptionally eventful year: Italians looked up the World Cup more than they searched for the general election or the disastrous collapse of Genoa's Morandi Bridge

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The Italian internet is morbidly curious

Four of the top five most searched names were famous figures who died this year: Italian-born businessman Sergio Marchionne, formerly of Fiat Chrysler; Fabrizio Frizzi, TV presenter and national treasure (as well as the voice of the Italian Woody in the dubbed versions of Toy Story); Swedish DJ Avicii, dead at 28; and Davide Astori, the Fiorentina footballer who died suddenly of a suspected heart attack. 

The only living member of the top five was Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Turin's own Juventus in one of Italian football's most high-profile transfers in years.

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Italians aren't sure what sexism is

The observant among you will have noticed that the other thing Italy's most Googled personalities have in common, apart from their mortality, is that they're all men. 

So is it heartening or disheartening to learn that, in a country with a gaping gender gap and long legacy of machismo, the word Italians most often asked Google to define was "sexist"?

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Unfortunately for those hoping Italy was finally in the throes of a feminist awakening, the spike in searches for "what does sexist mean" seems to have occurred right around the time a male contestant on reality TV show Big Brother was kicked out for directing unspecified "sexist abuse" at a female housemate. But who knows, perhaps the results led Italian users to some more edifying material.

There's a little more encouragement from the 'why' questions that Italians asked Google: "why do we celebrate March 8th" and "why do footballers have a red mark on their faces" were the top two queries. The answers: International Women's Day and an initiative to raise awareness of violence against women.

Italians ask some very good questions...

Some of the things on Italy's most Googled list we can answer right now. Like: why is Ferragosto called Ferragosto? It's all Latin to us. What does Brexit mean? An awful lot. What's impeachment? Something threatened against presidents everywhere, including Italian ones. What does LOL mean? Come on guys, it's been in the Italian dictionary since 2016.

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But other queries had us reaching for the search bar, too. Why can't you eat date mussels in Italy? It turns out that picking them requires destroying their coastal habitat. What is scopophobia (fear of being stared at) or cherophobia, for that matter? (Fear of happiness.) How do you make tomato sauce? Heavens help us, if Italians don't know, who does?

... but they still don't know how to take a screenshot

Two questions have been plaguing Italian internet users for years: how to back up a computer and how to take a screenshot. 

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The queries, which also featured in the top five last year, this year rose to numbers one and three on the list of most-asked 'how to's. 

Foreign food is coming to Italy, slowly

Italians' second most asked 'how to', meanwhile, was "how to make pancakes". Could a famously food-proud nation finally be experimenting with other cuisines?

Well, not to judge by the most Googled recipes, which were overwhelming for Italian dishes. (Some of them surprisingly basic: tiramisu? Carbonara? Isn't that what nonne are for?)

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A few foreign specialities did slip in, however: Italians also wanted to know how to make cous cous, sangria and, er, Sex on the Beach.

Italian holidays are the best holidays

Searches for holiday destinations focused on homegrown attractions, with Sardinia, Sicily, Tuscany, Salento and – more surprisingly – Abruzzo among the top inquiries. Even the foreign destinations in the top ten were close to home, from Albania to Greece, Croatia to Corsica.

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The one notable exception was Zanzibar, the seventh most searched for destination and about as exotic as you can get.

Italy felt lucky (or just desperate) in 2018

The tickets Italians searched for most often in 2018, more than tickets to concerts, wine fairs or even football matches, were lottery tickets.

Perhaps right after Googling that trip to Zanzibar?

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