Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by tena, Aug 14, 2004.
please tell me what a word furba in italian means?grazie
can someone explain what does word furba means in italian? thanks
it's the feminine for a clever or cunning person.
imho it doesn't exactly mean clever... usually it has nothing to do with it...
sometimes it is even used with a negative meaning, as to say that that person is willing to cheat or trick...
In spanish we would use the word "zorro/a" (but not as an insult like "bitch" even if sometimes it´s used in that way) so I would translate it as "crafty".
I don't agree that this word has a negative meaning. It really means "cunning, skillful, resourceful". My italian teacher calls my cat "furbetto"
I'd say that furbo/a has both positive and negative meanings; I remember an old nursery rhyme '…la furba volpacchiotta...' (the clever charming fox, i.e. furba as positive characteristic); but you may find the following bitter Italian phrase too:
'Gli italiani si dividono in due categorie: i furbi e i fessi'
Italians are divided into 2 groups: sly persons and fools (fools pay tax, drive their cars properly, do not steal and so on…); people like me are used to whisper bitterly "sono proprio un fesso…" on many occasions
(by the way, could you correct my english when necessary?)
Se posso aggiungere qualcosa di piu.
Sono della provincia di Québec e parlo francese. C'è una parola in francese "fourbe" che si pronuncia come "furba". Quella significa : una persona chi tende a ingannare". È sempre usata negativamente.
The "Furbo" is clever, skillful, and what is most important always cares MOST for his own interest.
Furbo = volpone, as in Ben Johnson's "Volpone, or the Fox" [ I may be mistaken about the author, it's a reminiscence of my schools years]
No negative accent then, but he's not a Saint also!
ciao for now
Furba/o means the person is "false", they may act in a certain manner but it is not their true character, so false, two faced & cunning would be about right.
Many times on Italian ebay, you read negative comments that use the frase "fare furbo" by itself, so I would assume that would bring negative connotations with it. Almost as if that says "He ripped me off!"
the best translation I can think of for Furba is this.....Smart like a fox.
So it DOES have positive and negative meanings. It dipends on how it's used. I also believe it's more often used in a negative way.
The correct expression is "fare il furbo":
Non fare il furbo con me! Don't play with me!
Several people have made reference to the fox... perhaps the word we're looking for is "sly". That's the adjective typically applied to a fox in English.
It encompasses all the definitions that have been offered (cunning, clever, etc.) but with a connotation of furtiveness or sneakiness.
Separate names with a comma.