Good morning, my patient readers!
In an effort to keep promises, today I’m going to post the first 3 words of this week’s selection by A.Word.A.Day. For obvious reasons of ‘space’, I’m not going to embellish it with unnecessary words … Well, in all honesty I conceived the previous paragraph starting from the Italian word infiorettare: I searched this peculiar expression for a couple of reasons: 1. because it’s used as an euphemism to imply the act of adding (often useless) frills to a speech 2. it literally means to embellish with flowers. And flowers are indeed the main theme of this week’s selection. Flower power!
noun: A person who indulges in idle daydreaming or leads a life of luxurious ease, instead of dealing with practical matters.
From the lotus-eaters, people in Homer’s Odyssey, who ate the lotus fruit that supposedly induced a dreamy forgetfulness. Earliest documented use: 1832.
“James Hewitt finds himself in Devon with mum, sleeping in the spare bedroom … Life as a lotus-eater in sunny climes appears to be well and truly over.”
Anna Pukas; The Major Moves Back With His Mum; Daily Express (London, UK); Nov 9, 2013.
- lotofago, mangiatore di loto
- Fig chi conduce una vita comoda e oziosa.
Source: Repubblica.it – Dizionari
1. An easy life, especially devoted to sensual pleasure.
2. A path of least resistance, especially one that ends in disaster.
From Latin prima rosa (first rose). Earliest documented use: 1604.
It’s not clear why primrose was picked for naming this metaphorical path. Perhaps Shakespeare chose the word for alliteration — the word is first attested in his Hamlet where Ophelia says to her brother Laertes:
“Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whilst, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.” [Heeds not his own counsel.]
“Meanwhile, Katich clung on; the primrose path is not for him. The road is strewn with rocks.”
Peter Roebuck; Victory in Sight, But Punter’s Job Far From Over; The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia); Oct 5, 2010.
ITALIAN TRANSLATION: (retor.) ricerca del piacere o della vita facile
adjective: Cowardly or timid.
In earlier times, the liver was considered to be the seat of courage. Hence, lacking blood, a white liver, indicated lack of courage. Earliest documented use: 1616.
“A story of twins — one bold and the other a lily-livered cop.”
Malathi Rangarajan; Brothers and the Baddies; The Hindu (Chennai, India); Sep 25, 2012.
ITALIAN TRANSLATION: a (= cowardly) lett vile, codardo, vigliacco.
I close the post with a couple of pertinent English expressions suggested by Anu Garg himself (for those who are reading me for the first time, he’s the founder of A.Word.A.Day.) and related to beautiful things in life, i.e. flowers and music:
: a type of loner. seemingly shy folks who no one really knows. often some of the most interesting people if one actually talks to them. cute. “I met this gorgeous girl, a bit of a wallflower, but very sweet.”
(source Urban Dictionary
In Italian, tipo timido, tipo da tappezzeria
Also a moving, intense song
by Peter Gabriel portraying the treatment of political prisoners in Latin America during the 1980s.
2. A bed of roses
: a luxurious situation; an easy life. “Who said life would be a bed of roses? If I had a million bucks, I would be in a bed of roses”.
(source The Free Dictionary
In Italian, we say ‘un letto di rose‘, or ‘una passeggiata‘. Instead, we translate ‘it’s no bed of roses’ as non è rose e fiori.
Well, folks, what can I say more? May your life always be a bed of roses!
Your passionate (Italian) Translator