Italian Word of the Day: Sfacciato (insolent / brash / brazen)

If an individual displays rude and arrogant behaviour, demonstrating a total lack of respect, you could characterise them as sfacciato in Italian, which translates to insolent, brash, brazen or impudent in English.

/sfac·cià·to/ – [sfatˈtʃato]
Italian word "sfacciato"

The term sfacciato originates from the root faccia (face), employed figuratively to convey notions of honor or respect. The s- prefix, in this context, imparts the opposite, often negative, meaning to the word (i.e. no face = no respect).

When sfacciato ends in -o, it describes a masculine, singular noun. You can change the ending to -a to make it feminine, or -i and -e to create their respective plurals.

  • l’uomo sfacciato = the insolent man
  • la donna sfacciata = the insolent woman
  • gli uomini sfacciati = the insolent men
  • le donne sfacciate = the insolent women

Upset young woman covering her mouth and expressing displeasure while irritated husband talking to her in rude manner
Ma come sei sfacciato! = You are so insolent!

When used as a noun, it means impudent person or brazen-faced person.

Like many words, sfacciato also carries a figurative meaning. When applied to objects, it denotes something that surpasses the bounds of good taste and decency, akin to the English adjectives gaudy or showy.

Portrait of woman with beautiful Christmas makeup, wearing huge hat with Christmas decorations.

It can also mean outrageous or unabashed as in:

  • una fortuna sfacciata = an outrageous fortune
  • un lusso sfacciato = an unabashed luxury

Two colloquial synonyms for sfacciato are faccia tosta and faccia di bronzo. The adjective tosto means hard, tough or determined, while bronzo is quite simply, bronze. Avere la faccia tosta / di bronza can be translates as “to have the nerve / to dare.”

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