La Parola del Giorno~ the Word of the Day


There are many Italian words whose meanings are obvious to us all. Their spellings are very similar to their English counterparts, which at times makes one believe that learning Italian could be an easy task. Trust me, it’s not: however, I will say that it should never stop anyone from trying to learn the language, or any foreign language for that matter. It certainly hasn’t stopped me.

“Disastro” means exactly what you think it does—disaster. My Italian-English dictionary ( ) defines it as “disaster, calamity, wreck.” And nothing could be farther from the truth.

In Viterbo, Nonna used that word all the time. We would be standing in the kitchen over the pasta board and she would say, “Marco, disastro!” when I had made a mess of something. Not that I had ruined it, or set the house on fire, or killed innocent culinary by-standers—it was not that kind of disastro. Mine were usually of the “wreck” variety. Soon we used that word to describe anything that didn’t seem right to us—a poor fashion choice, the search for misplaced car keys, or an opened package of bread crumbs that accidentally got dumped onto the floor.

Now, back home in America, it continues to be a word that is used around the house all the time. I love it because it is one of those words where the very sound of the word itself describes what it is. The word has a good “mouth-feel” about it.

Its uses in conversation:

“Did you see that new building?” “Disastro!”

“Why did he say that in the meeting?” “Disastro!”

“Look at these brown bananas—Disastro!

“Can you believe she wore that to the party?” “Disastro!”

With Halloween quickly approaching and with the weather taking a turn from summer to fall, I thought a picture of an Italian garden-man frieze from northern Lazio ( ) would be appropriate for this day’s entry. Of course, in Hilton Head the temperature has gone from the 60s earlier in the week back up into the 80s today—“DISASTRO!”

Ciao e a presto~