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Italian word of the day: 'Qualunquismo'

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Italian word of the day: 'Qualunquismo'
18:40 CET+01:00
Politics? Yeah, whatever.

If you're past caring about the latest political goings-on, this word is for you.

As a pejorative, qualunque can be translated as “whatever”.

The noun qualunquismo means an attitude of distrust, scepticism and apathy towards politics – something like "meh-ism" or “whateverism”.

But it's not plain old indifference, because there's a heavy note of contempt.

Qualunquismo is a word for feeling fed up to the back teeth, when you've had it up to here, and can't stand the sight of something (usually politicans) for a minute longer.

It's the defeatist attitude of “they're all the same, so what's the point?” that stops people from voting in elections.

You pronounce it kwal-un-kwiz-mo.

READ ALSO: Ten untranslatable words that only exist in Italian

The word can be traced back to the right-wing populist, monarchist and anti-communist party, the Fronte dell'Uomo Qualunque (The Everyman's Front). Formed in 1946 just after the Second World War, the party offered an apolitical alternative to both fascism and anti-fascism, at a time when people had heard more than enough.

The movement was short lived, but the attitude it embodied has lived on.

By extension, a person who's not interested in politics (and feels a lot of qualunquismo) is a qualunquista.

The word is a cousin of menefreghismo, a rather dark word that could be translated as “not-giving-a-damn-ism.”

Qualunquismo isn't a word you'll hear very often, but if you find a reason to use it you'll no doubt impress your friends and surprise your Italian teacher. If you care.

Do you have a favourite Italian word, phrase or expression you'd like us to feature? If so, please email our editor Jessica Phelan with your suggestion.

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