Monday, September 8, 2008

Word of the week- menefreghismo

Our word of the week is one of those that exists in Italian but not in English: menefreghismo. It comes from the very common phrase "me ne frego," which means "I don't give a damn" (or naughtier variants thereof) and was a motto of the Fascists. But Italian has turned the phrase, which is also very prevalent in English, into a noun denoting a state, like "dontgiveadamnism." The person exhibiting this behavior is called a menefreghista.

Do these forms exist in Italian because this attitude is more common in Italy? Yes, I think so. But in terms of indifference to others, we as Americans are fast approaching their levels.