Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Word of the week: figurati

Our word of the week, figurati (fee-GOO-rah-tee) is a tricky little one. It is actually a form of the reflexive verb figurarsi, which literally should mean "to figure or imagine to oneself."

But it is not literal, it's highly idiomatic (and very common). There are two main uses: the first and more boring one, as a sort of "don't mention it" after the other person has acknowledged a favor or benefit.

You've been so helpful. Si figuri. (formal form)
Thanks for the the cup of sugar. Figurati!

The other, more amusing function of our star word of the week is used to denote the fact that one rejects an affirmation with skepticism and jaded incredulity.

Chiara is prettier than you are. Ma figurati! (the ma is an intensifier).
Italy will win the FIFA World Cup again in 2010. Figurati!
Within our lifetime, Italy will significantly change for the better. Figurati!