Italian Word of the Day: Bizza (tantrum / scene)

You might already know the very common word capriccio, but did you know there’s another Italian word for a tantrum or scene? That word is bizza!

/bìẓ·ẓa/ – [ˈbiddza]
Italian word "bizza"

Bizza is a feminine noun that takes the following definite and indefinite articles:

  • la bizza = the tantrum
  • una bizza = a tantrum
  • le bizze = the tantrums
  • delle bizze = (some) tantrums

While capriccio is more generic, bizza tends to indicate a brief and childish tantrum, like the type your son or daughter might have if you don’t buy them a toy in a store.

It is often used in its plural form bizze with the verb fare (to do/make), in which case the translation tends to be to act up.

In its singular form bizza, it tends to be used with the verb prendere (to take) – prendere una bizza.

A child is crying on the street.

According to most dictionaries, the word derives from the onomatopoeic sound “biz”, which is reminiscent of the buzz of an annoying insect.

However, there’s a second interpretation that I find quite amusing. According to Firenze Today, Florence was once home to laywomen who lived monastic lives as part of the Third Order of Franciscans. These women were dubbed bizzochere (later pinzochere), named after the coarse garment they wore, known as bigio or bizzo.

Residing in families and monasteries, these women tended to the basilica of Santa Croce. However, by the 16th century, their order disbanded amid rumours of immorality, including claims of nocturnal visits to the basilica to please friars.

Legend has it that the term bizza also stemmed from these women, signifying both spinsters and their frequently irritable demeanour. Unmarried women, lacking husbands, were likened to bizzochere, giving rise to the expression fare le bizze, meaning to behave like spinsters.

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