Don’t call ’em by their name …

Good morning, folks!

The sky is grey today and I’m late with my daily posts on words, so I’m not in my best mood … but I’m ‘in tune’ with the two words (a noun and a verb) selected by A.Word.A.Day. in the past few days. For those of you that did not read my last post (Good times), this weekly selection is focused on words that are apparently names. The couple of words I’m going to introduce define something ‘annoying’. I’m basically annoyed today, so these words match perfectly to my mood. Are you curious? Here they are …



1. A young chicken.
2. A woman, especially an elderly one, who is talkative, interfering, or annoying.
3. A cleaning woman.
For 1: Of unknown origin. Earliest documented use: 1616.
For 2, 3: Short for the name Bridget. Sense 3 is from Irish maid-servants in the US. Earliest documented use: 1785.


“Les Dawson’s most lasting legacy is probably Cissie and Ada, the gossiping old biddies whose innuendo-laden sketches graced his television shows for many years.”
Andrew White; Cissie & Ada: An Hysterical Rectomy; Northern Echo (Darlington, UK); Oct 4, 2013.
1 (chicken) gallina f.
2 domestica, cameriera
3 (spreg) (woman) vecchietta f. vispa: an old biddy una vecchietta sempre affaccendata.
Source 2:  Babylon



verb tr., intr.:
1. To harass, attack, or annoy, especially repeatedly.
2. To raid or pillage.
>From Old English hergian. Ultimately from the Indo-European root koro- (war, host, army) which also gave us harbor, harbinger, herald, harness, hurry, and harangue. Earliest documented use: 1330.
“A campaign backed by the Polish government harries media outlets that carelessly say ‘Polish death camps’ (instead of ‘Nazi German death camps in occupied Poland’).”
Spit and Polish; The Economist (London, UK); Jun 16, 2012.
1. infestare
2 razziare, saccheggiare
3 infastidire, importunare, tormentare
Honestly I don’t know what the A.W.A.D. team has in store for us this week, but surely not what everybody and their dog knows (and my grandma too!), i.e. the notorious couple of male nicknames deriving from William and Richard. This brings me back to a couple of decades ago, when Italians went crazy for an American dance hit by the R&B singer Gillette, Short D*** Man. You could hear it everywhere, in discos, on the radio, on TV, sung by people in the street …  It was quite funny hearing boys singing ‘don’t want a short d*** man‘, I suppose they didn’t know what the song was really about and what d*** really meant, otherwise I don’t think they would ever sing it so joyfully!
In my language there’s no name or nickname sounding like an insult, sometimes Italian surnames sound offensive (and the Italian law allows to change them), but surely no name, at least not officially. A couple of female historical names are used here to define women of loose morals, but their use is not officially recognized as an insult. The first one is the name of our ‘alleged’ ancestress, Eve, who is  considered as the first ‘harlot’ in the history of mankind for tempting Adam with the apple from the tree of knowledge in violation of God’s  law,  therefore causing their expulsion from Eden. The second legendary character, Helen of Troy, is reputed to have triggered the Trojan war – or at least, the legend has it. Oh dear, I don’t know why, but women are considered the cause of most of human disgraces … and (mis)treated as such. Maybe I’m going off-topic, but I get continually shocked by the amount of crimes committed on women at any latitude of the globe, mortified in their mind and bodies, stalked, abused, killed. I don’t know where this rage against women comes from, but you cannot deny that they has been fiercely persecuted in the course of the human history. If there’s any psychologist among you, please explain me why men try to take life from those who bring life instead. Being basically rational, I don’t catch this dichotomy.
See you soon, folks
Your passionate (and female) Italian Translator
On the illustration: This fanciful artwork is called ‘The Origin’. Its author is a young Brazilian artist, Ramon de Andrade Madeira. I’ve chosen it for the stunning composition and the vivid colours and for the concept, the underlying idea that women are the origin of life. Someone is giving us the credit we deserve, at last. Thanks from the bottom of my heart, Ramon!

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