Slang for "Napolitano"?
March 9, 2010 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I was chatting with a fella from Rome a few years back and mentioned that my father's parents emigrated from Napoli. He said, "you're a ____!" which was apparently a slang term for somebody from Naples-and no, it's not "Napolitano" or anything close to that. Anybody know what he said?
posted by ethnomethodologist to Writing & Language (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

"Partenopei is a popular nickname for the [football] club and people from the city of Naples in general.[48] It is derived from Greek mythology where the siren Parthenópē tried to enchant Odysseus from his ship to Capri. In the story Odysseus had his men tie him to the ship's mast so he was able to resist the song of the siren; as a result Parthenope, unable to live with the rejection of her love, drowned herself and her body was washed up upon the shore of Naples.[49]"
posted by MsMolly at 1:58 PM on March 9, 2010

posted by volpe at 1:59 PM on March 9, 2010

My grandma is from Naples and she says (phonetically): "Nahb-la-dawn." I think this is "Napolitano" in the local dialect. It probably wasn't that if the guy you spoke with grew up in Rome, but thought I'd throw this out there just in case.
posted by Falconetti at 2:03 PM on March 9, 2010

Tip of the tongue, damn it. You might be looking for a variety of pasta, the exact which escapes me.

Much as Romans call Tuscans mangiafagioli, beaneaters.

Google pastas and see if anything looks right, let us know
posted by IndigoJones at 2:25 PM on March 9, 2010

Years ago, the Northern Italian kids I knew jokingly called the lone guy from Naples in our group "Ciro". They said it was a typical Mezzogiorno male name the Northerners often use for anyone from Southern Italy, not just Naples. Googling doesn't confirm any of this, however.
posted by sively at 2:45 PM on March 9, 2010

It might have been "terrone," which is used by Northerners to mean anyone from Rome or south of Rome, and is used by Romans to mean anyone south of Rome.
posted by charlesv at 2:51 PM on March 9, 2010

Terrone! That's it!
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:18 PM on March 9, 2010

Ugh. If you see him again, punch him in the face.
posted by The World Famous at 3:27 PM on March 9, 2010

hmmm- charlesv link says very offensive but I'm happy to reclaim it....
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:37 PM on March 9, 2010

No, it really is offensive and not reclaimable.
posted by The World Famous at 3:59 PM on March 9, 2010

Dude, it means "farmer."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:33 PM on March 9, 2010

Dude, it's like the N word.
posted by The World Famous at 10:58 PM on March 9, 2010

Not farmer. More like mud-eater. The actual meaning seems more like "rube" or "hick". Maybe "clodhopper" or "hayseed" gets it across better? Google Books has an account of the writer's father being called terrone by a superior on his first day in the army, to which he responded with his fists -- leading to a miserable career as a prison guard, eventual discharge, and loss of his pension.

The US has a curious inversion of attitudes where the once geographically limited "redneck" now applies nationwide, country music routinely proclaims disdain for city people, and an overall populism that holds up an obsolete rural ideal as the "real America". A common fascist trope. There really isn't an analogously vicious term here. Maybe the one that will get it across is "peasant". Or, on reflection, the N-word indeed.
posted by dhartung at 11:50 PM on March 9, 2010 [2 favorites]

Actually, it's like the N-word if nobody used it in anything but an offensive and derogatory way.
posted by The World Famous at 9:35 AM on March 10, 2010

Trust me, it is super-offensive. It is nothing like "farmer." It is basically the N-word (I meant to add that in my original post).

Do not use this term in Italy, ever, unless your Italian is fluent and the audience is nothing but purebred Piemontese or Milanese or something. My friends from Milan use it to describe anything kind of crappy and it makes me cringe.
posted by charlesv at 12:10 PM on March 10, 2010

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