Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I get a word of the day from the OED via email. Today’s word was pococurante. I’d never heard it used before in English. Today I’ve decided to be pococurante (except on my bicycle on the way to the office).

pococurante, n. and adj.
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌpəʊkəʊkjᵿˈranti/,  U.S. /ˈˌpoʊkoʊˌkjəˈrɑn(t)i/
Etymology: <  Italian poco curante caring little (early 17th cent. or earlier) <  poco poco adv. + curante, present participle of curare to care (a1294 in reflexive use; 13th cent. in sense ‘to cure’; <  classical Latin cūrāre cure v.1), probably via the name of Seigneur Pococurante, a fictional apathetic Venetian senator in Voltaire's Candide (1759).
 A. n.
  A careless, indifferent, or nonchalant person.
1762  L. Sterne Life Tristram Shandy VI. xx. 85 Leave we my mother—(truest of all the Poco-curante's of her sex!)—careless about it.
1779  H. Thrale Jrnl. 1 May in Thraliana (1942) I. 382 He seems to have no Affections, and that won't do with me—I feel great Discomfort in the Society of a Pococurante.
1860 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. June 708/2, I really cannot afford to hazard my reputation as a poco-curante.
1949  V. W. von Hagen South Amer. called Them iii. xvii. 219 If the Reverend Dr. Samuel Butler could have composed a single line to describe him..he might have put: ‘rat-catcher and pococurante’.
1995 Guardian 26 May (Friday Review) 8/3 The dreamy pococurante needs to bluff his way into employment at a top National School.
 B. adj.
  Careless, indifferent, nonchalant.
1815  T. Moore Mem. (1853) II. 76 That idlest of all poco-curante places, Dublin.
1823  W. M. Praed Troubadour in Poet. Wks. (1844) 102 Poco-curante in all cases Of furious foes, or pretty faces.
1881 Sat. Rev. 9 July 32/1 Lord Granville's pleasant faculty of pococurante conversation.
1948  P. A. Scholes Great Dr. Burney I. xxxvii. 379 Some odd news, which illustrates, let us proudly say, not the pococurante spirit but the sangfroid of our great British nation.
1985 Pick of Punch 25/1 A gust of river wind sprayed my entire shirtfront with damp powdered sugar; I remained placidly pococurante.

 ˌpococuˈrantish adj. careless, indifferent, or nonchalant in character.
1821 Examiner 491/1 Criticism has been a little Pococurantish of late years.
1916  G. Saintsbury Peace of Augustans (1946) v. 229 He had, when he chose not to be flighty or pococurantish, not inconsiderable common sense.
2003 Financial Times 13 Dec. (Weekend Mag.) 31 Are you quite pococurantish in the face of pressure to spend your hard-earned money on finnimbruns?

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...