Word of the Day: Sfizio

Apr 17, 2019 188

Togliersi qualche sfizio, (satisfy a quirky need) or even mangiare qualcosa di sfizioso (eating something tasty and indulgent) are popular expression indeed in the Italian language.  Sfizio is one of those words we use continuously, yet without really knowing anything about its origins. And so, it is surprising to learn it probably has southern roots, possibly Neapolitan, and that its use was attested for the first time at the very end of the 19th century. 

Difficult to believe, though, that we Italians never had sfizi to satisfy before then: indeed we would just call them differently, using words like capriccio, which in English is “whim” or “fancy,” the same terms you would use to translate sfizio, too. As uncertain as its etymology may be, linguists had fun coming out with several theories: to some, sfizio is the deformation of the term uffizio, old fashioned Italian for “duty,” to which an “s” was added to indicate the contrary of what the word meant. 

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SOURCE: https://italoamericano.org/

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