Italian Word of the Day: Infischiarsene (to not give a damn / to not care)

Today we are going to be looking at the pronominal verb infischiarsene which means to not give a damn about something or to not care in colloquial Italian. It is very similar in meaning to the more widely known verb fregarsene, albeit a little less vulgar.

/in·fi·schiàr·se-ne/
cover image with the word “infischiarsene” and its translation written on a notepad next to a cup of cofee

What is a pronominal verb, you might ask? Well, it is a verb that ends in one or two pronouns: in this case -sene. Se is actually the pronoun si, but it becomes se before another pronoun. Ne is a type of pronoun called a pronominal particle, and it usually translates as of or about someone/something.

The verb is modelled on the very common French pronominal verb s’en ficher of the same meaning.

Chi decide di infischiarsene del distanziamento sociale è un irresponsabile.

Anyone who decides to not care about social distancing is irresponsible.


Note: Sometimes this verb is used without ne on the end (infischiarsi) but it is less common. The verb infischiare doesn’t exist, but fischiare means to whistle.

Here is how you would conjugate infischiarsene in the present tense:

(io) me ne infischio
I don’t care

(tu) te ne infischi
You (informal) don’t care

(lui) se ne infischia
He doesn’t care

(lei) se ne infischia
She doesn’t care

(Lei) se ne infischia
You (formal) don’t care

(Noi) ce ne infischiamo
We don’t care

(Voi) ve ne infischiate
You (plural) don’t care

(Loro) se ne infischiano
They don’t care

Portrait of angry young man yelling during therapy session with psychiatrist
Me ne infischio della tua opinione! – I don’t give a damn about your opinion!

On a personal note, the reason I chose this verb is because my son and I have been listening to a lot of Bruno Lauzi these days, in particular the cute tune Il Mio Bambino e Il Suo Papà in which the word infischiarsene appears.

Be aware that the construction of the song is unusual in that the singer is referring to himself in the third person, most notably in the line il mio bambino e suo papà (my son and his father). This is not how people speak in Italian, it is simply Lauzi’s stylistic choice for the song!

Il mio bambino e il suo papà che camminavano,
e camminavano ed arrivavano.
Il mio bambino e il suo papà che camminavano,
ed arrivavano nella città.

Ed arrivati dentro un bar poi si sedevano,
e comandavano, e consumavano.
Ed arrivati dentro un bar poi si sedevano,
e consumavano senza pagar.

Un’aranciata! Una birra! Un caffè! Un toast! Un panino col prosciutto! Un gelato! Una cicca! Un bignè! Un frappè!

E a tutti quelli che chiedevano dicevano,
Noi consumavano ma non pagavano.
E a tutti quelli che chiedevano dicevano,
Noi consumavano senza pagar.

Il mio bambino e il suo papà che l’inseguivano,
che l’insultavano e li picchiavano.
Il mio bambino e il suo papà che l’inseguivano,
e li cacciavano dalla città.

Ma il mio bambino e il suo papà se ne infischiavano,
e sorridevano e poi cantavano.
Ma il mio bambino e il suo papà se ne infischiavano,
di quella trappola che è la città.

E continuando a fare scherzi raggiungevano,
un mondo semplice, pulito e fragile.
Che regalava a tutti quelli che lo amavano,
fatto di musica e felicità.
La la la la la la…

My boy and his dad were walking,
and they were walking and they were on their way.
My boy and his dad were walking,
and they arrived in the city.

And when they arrived in a café they then sat down,
and ordered, and ate.
And when they arrived in a café they then sat down,
and ordered, and ate without paying.

An orange soda! A beer! A coffee! A toasted sandwich! A ham sandwich! An ice cream! A piece of chewing gum! A cream puff! A milkshake!

And to all who asked they said,
We ate but did not pay.
And to all who asked they said,
We ate without paying.

My boy and his dad were followed and insulted and slapped
My boy and his dad were followed and insulted and kicked out of the city
.

But my boy and his dad didn’t give a hoot,
and they smiled and then sang.
But my baby and his dad didn’t give a hoot,
about that trap that is the city.

And continuing to joke around they reached,
a simple, clean and fragile world.
Which he gave to all those who loved him,
made of music and happiness.
La la la la la la…

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