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Italian word of the day: ‘Moscio’

Sometimes you just don't have it in you...

chalkboard with Italian flag and the word
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Italy might have cooled off a little after its record-breaking mid-August heatwave, but temperatures are still hot and heavy across much of the peninsula.

If you’re back from your summer break and staring blankly a screen trying to concentrate while weakly fanning yourself with your hand, you might be feeling a bit… moscio.

In other words: listless, apathetic, limp, floppy, soft; sapped of vitality.

It can be a temporary state of being or a more enduring personality trait, and could be applied to anything from a sad-looking plant or piece of overripe fruit to a person or even an animal. Moscio can also mean flaccid or saggy, with… the same applications as its English counterparts.

It’s a regular adjective, so follows the standard rules for noun agreement: moscio for masculine singular, moscia for feminine singular, mosci for masculine plural, or mosce for feminine plural.

Si sente un po’ moscia con questo caldo.
She feels a bit wiped out with this heat.

Cosa pensi del nuovo ragazzo di Angelica? A me sembrava un po’ moscio.
What do you think of Angelica’s new boyfriend? He seemed like a bit of a drip to me.

Le tue rose sono mosce, dovresti annaffiarle più frequentemente.
Your roses are drooping, you should water them more often.

Fortunately for those of us who might be feeling a little mosci, the Italian workday is bookended with some built-in pick-me-ups, starting with your morning cappuccino and ending with a good old aperitivo or apericena. Thank goodness for that, eh?

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.

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For members


Italian word of the day: ‘Delusione’

We hope this word doesn't disappoint.

Italian word of the day: 'Delusione'

Experiencing a delusione (deh-loo-zee-OH-neh) in Italian may not be pleasant, but it doesn’t mean you need escorting to the psychiatrist’s chair.

That’s because while delusione may look and sound like its English cousin ‘delusion’, the word actually means something quite different: disappointment.

Disappointment Disappointed GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Food Review GIFs

The two nouns actually have the same root in the Latin dēlūsiō, meaning a deceiving or deluding, and delūdō, meaning to deceive, dupe, or mock.

But while the English ‘delusion’ has hewn close to the original Latin meaning over the centuries, delusione at some point branched off to its current, quite different, definition.

There’s not much in the way of information about exactly when and how that happened, but it’s clearly a short associative hop from feeling ‘deceived’ or ‘duped’ by things turning out differently to what you’d expected to feeling ‘disappointed’.

Che delusione.
How disappointing.

La festa era, purtroppo, una grande delusione.
The party unfortunately was a big disappointment.

Mike Ehrmantraut Breaking Bad Che Delusione No Che Vergogna GIF - Disappointment Disappointed Oh No GIFs

The adjective for ‘disappointed’ is deluso for a single masculine subject, changing to delusa/delusi/deluse if the subject being described is feminine singular/masculine plural/feminine plural.

Era delusa da come era venuta la torta.
She was disappointed with how the cake turned out.

Devo dire che siamo davvero delusi dal fatto che siamo stati trattati in questo modo.
I have to say that we’re very disappointed to have been treated this way.

A word you’ll often see used in combination with deluso/a/i/e is rimanere (ree-man-EH-reh): rimanere deluso.

You might correctly recognise rimanere as meaning ‘to remain’, and wonder why we’d use that word here – but rimanere also has an alternative meaning along the lines of ‘to become’, ‘to get’, or simply ‘to be’.

For example, you can rimanere incinta (get pregnant), or rimanere ferito (get hurt or wounded, for example in a car accident).

It’s also very often used with emotions, usually those experienced in the moment rather than long-term ones: you can rimanere sorpreso (be surprised), rimanere triste (be sad), rimanere scioccato (be shocked)… and rimanere deluso (be disappointed).

Sono rimasto molto deluso quando mi ha detto di aver abbandonato la scuola.
I was very disappointed when she told me she had dropped out of school.

Siamo rimasti delusi dalle condizioni della stanza d’albergo al nostro arrivo.
We were disappointed by the condition of the hotel room when we arrived.

With that, we wish you a weekend free of delusioni (disappointments)!

Do you have an Italian word you’d like us to feature? If so, please email us with your suggestion.