Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Word of the week- ciabatta

This week's word is ciabatta (chah-BAHT-tah). Many will already be familiar with this word as a type of crusty bread form. But the original meaning is "slipper," and the bread's name derives from a supposed resemblance to the latter. A multi-socket electrical fixture is also called a ciabatta.

Pantofola also means "slipper." These seem to be somewhat more formal and elegant than ciabatte, and are often made of cloth and closed at the back. Pantofole are associated with the home, whereas ciabatte can be informally used outside e.g. at the beach. Pantofolaio is a homebody, someone who likes to stay at home a lot.

There is also a rather sexist proverb that says ogni scarpa diventa ciabatta, every shoe becomes a slipper. This would mean that people (I strongly suspect they mean female people only) lose their beauty and value over time.