Sunday, August 30, 2009

Phrase of the week- segreto di Pulcinella

Our phrase of the week is a simple but interesting one. Un segreto di Pulcinella (pool-chee-NEL-lah) is an open secret, that is, a secret everyone knows.
Pulcinella (also known as Punchinello or Punch in English-speaking countries) is an ancient comic figure from the Commedia dell'Arte, who represents a sort of trickster from Naples (where else). He is constantly getting into scrapes and getting out of them by using his wits. His name may be a form of pulcino (chick), because of his beak, or taken from a man named Puccio d'Aniello.

Among his many faults, he was known to be unable to be discreet about confidential matters- hence, anything revealed to him would eventually become an open secret.