Can we just take a moment to talk about one of my absolute favorite phrases in the Italian language?
Good, I was hoping you’d say ‘yes’. If you said ‘no’, well then tough crap. You’re still here reading ain’t ya? Who’s the sucka now, eh?
See, now, right there would be a good opportunity to say,
“Whoa, M, you are fuori come un balcone. For reals.”
What does this absolutely fantastic phrase mean? I thought you’d never ask.
Literally translated, it’s ” you are out like a balcony“. The word fuori in this context is shortened from the widely used “fuori testa” (translated: out of one’s mind). In addition to pazzo and matto, this is an acceptable way to playfully call a friend crazy or nuts.
As for the second part of the phrase… a balcony, as we all know… is out. Here, let me show you:
As far as can tell, the phrase seems to have taken hold in the world of Reggiano slang. It seems to be lesser known in Parma and Modena, for example. One online link suggests that it was first coined by comedian, Paolo Rossi. However, I would like to see more valid source citations before declaring this to be true. Studies are currently being conducted to pinpoint its origin.
Side note: If you know the origin of this phrase and would like to participate in our very official study, please leave a comment.
It should be noted that in the highly sophisticated Italian Dictionary of Youth Slang (hosted by a Russian site… ?), the following entry is listed:
BALCONE. (I) “Sei fuori come un balcone!”, espressione usata per indicare una persona che non sa quello che dice o fa qualcosa di anormale (spesso perché è ubriaco). Col termine “Balcone” s’intende anche il seno di una donna.
I, personally, have never heard “balcone” also being used to refer to a woman’s breast, as suggested above… but hey… I may be out of the loop with the current Youth Slang these days. (By the way, the rest of that dictionary is worth a gander for you Italian speakers).
I also find it amusing that one of the only other references I can find to this fantastic phrase is on WordReference.com, a site used primarily by middle-aged translators apparently. Here the phrase “sei fuori come un balcone” has been translated to: “you’re off your rocker“… hardly words of youths, but whatevs.
That’s all for tonight’s foray into the linguistic genius of Italian slang. I encourage you to peruse my other Itanglish articles for similar revelations:
- “The Trailing Ciao” and other Italian telephone tips.
- Italian pronunciation: papà, Papa, e pappa (the father, the Pope and the holy food)
- “Pan, parsùt, figa, e lambrùsc.” – Reggiano dialect phrase for the recipe to health and a long life.
- Please, please, don’t name your baby something that translates to ‘butt hole’ in English.
- From ‘cool’ to ‘c***’ : 50 shades of genitaliano slang.
Inspired by a Nathalie on Twitter, I would like to propose a contest….
Nathalie (@spacedlaw) January 08, 2014
Simple entry rules – just answer the following question in the comments:
What are you fuori like?
I’ll list the best of the best here… Plus a couple from me to get the ball rolling:
- I’m fuori like Pluto, man. (- M @MarriedToItaly)
- I’m fuori like shoulder pads. (- M @MarriedToItaly)
- Come una passeggiata per i campi. (- Nathalie @spacedlaw)
- fuori come un barbecue in giardino (- Nathalie @spacedlaw)
- Sono fuori come un terrazzo (- Giovanni @GioNanook)
- Sono fuori come un mercato (- M @MarriedToItaly)
- fuori come un’ala (- @StresaTravel)
- Sono fuori come un cavallo (- Giovanni @GioNanook)
- I’m fuori like sun-dried tomatoes (- M @MarriedToItaly)
- Sei fuori come un lampione (- Giovanni @GioNanook)
- I’m fuori like Jupiter’s 67th moon (-M @MarriedToItaly)
- sono fuori come un giardino (- MarkD)
ok ok ok …. Now, I’m fuori like unemployed… gotta get back to work! I’ll check back later. 🙂