con faccia da patiti

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hello everyone,

The context is a woman talking about how much men like her breasts: Mi guardavano il petto con faccia da patiti. I had assumed that this meant (jocularly) that they'd stare at her chest with a look of sheer suffering on their faces -- the suffering of intense desire -- but when I checked patito to confirm, it turns out it can also mean "fan, aficionado"! Clearly, the men are also aficionados. :D So which patito do we have in faccia da patiti? I notice that the "suffering" patito is an adjective, while only the "aficionado" patito is a noun, so should I assume that da patito refers to the latter meaning? They'd stare at my chest like fanatics?
 
  • alessandranz

    Member
    Italian - Italy
    The Treccani dictionary defines "patito" as someone who is extremely fond of someone else or something else, almost a fanatic. We use this expression, especially with sports (e.g. un patito del pallone, del calcio). In this case, I would interpret it as if these men are extremely attracted by her breasts, it could be translated as "They'd stare at my breast with yearning/lustful expressions", but I'd wait for a native speaker's opinions.
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    🇬🇧 English (England)
    It seems to me quite hard to render in a way that gets across the original as well as sounding natural: I might opt for something like – They’d gaze at my chest as if mesmerised/spellbound / with rapt expressions
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Wow--thanks for all the interest in this, er, topic. :D There are a million ways to put the idea into English, but what I'm curious about at the moment is whether the "fanatic / obsessed / maniac" patito is related to the "suffering" patito. The link alfaalfa posted in #6 and Starless's comment in #7 suggest it might be. I'd like to be able to work the idea of "hunger" or "wanting something so bad it hurts" into the translation, but I don't want it to look like I mistook one patito for the other!
     

    Mary49

    Senior Member
    Italian
    This is interesting: Etimologia : patito, patita;
    1669910590452.png


    Could "covetous" be a correct term?
     
    Yes, they were certainly drooling!
    "They drooled / were drooling/ would drool / used to drool at /over my breasts".
    "Drool" - show great interest and pleasure, make an effusive show of pleasure, show in a silly or exaggerated way that you want or admire somebody/something very much, salivate at the sight of, etc. (A few dictionary definitions conflated here!)
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    No, I don't think so. To covet something is to want something for yourself, like someone's car, where here they're looking at her breasts with great enthusiasm.
    This is very much what I was trying to find out: when native speakers read con faccia da patiti in this context, are they in the conceptual field of yearning / hungering, or in the conceptual field of enthusiastic appreciation? I realize that one may involve the other (and in the end, it's all lust), but since there are so many ways to say roughly the same thing in English -- as the above responses prove -- I was hoping to narrow the field down a bit.

    Incidentally, if you can covet your neighbour's wife, I imagine you can stare covetously at her breasts, too.:D But whether it captures patito any better than spellbound, drooling, yearning, or obsessively -- or my own thought at the moment, to stare hungrily at -- I don't know! I admit I like the humour of "They'd stare at my chest maniacally / like maniacs," but does patito have that same edge of pazzo?
     
    I cannot think of a better and more idiomatic verb than "drool" at the moment. I do not "covet" anything. I do not do anything "covetously" . Who "covets" anything in this day and age? That would be too biblical and too Christian, and not millions of people even know the word. I will have to stick with drool. (Not that I ever drool, you understand 😉).
    Come to think of it, how many people know the verb "drool"? (Sadly).
     
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    puli_dog

    Senior Member
    There are a million ways to put the idea into English, but what I'm curious about at the moment is whether the "fanatic / obsessed / maniac" patito is related to the "suffering" patito.
    Hi! 🙂
    Do you mean related in a general sense or precisely within this womans's sentence? Because in the latter case we should know first which one of the many nuances of "patito" offered in this thread (including the suffering hint and the etymology that I didn't know) our lady had in mind and whether she was familiar with all of them, since "faccia da patito" is an expression that, for instance, as a native I would not use in this context, given its odd flavour of "scrutiny by experts". Until then, we are speculating without a clue, I'm afraid.
     
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    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hi! 🙂
    Do you mean related in a general sense or precisely within this womans's sentence? Because in the latter case we should know first which one of the many nuances of "patito" offered in this thread (including the suffering hint and the etymology that I didn't know) our lady had in mind and whether she was familiar with all of them, since "faccia da patito" is an expression that, for instance, as a native I would not use in this context, given its odd flavour of "scrutiny by experts". Until then, we are speculating without a clue, I'm afraid.
    Hey Puli! :) There's not much more to go on, I'm afraid. The speaker, who's been working as a kind of casual prostitute, is musing about why men find her attractive, and gives a brief description of her own physical appearance, including her seni prepotenti. She notes that that's what men notice most about her and are most taken by, and then we get this line. Next line is about something different.

    I did mean related in a general sense: i.e., whether the "enthusiastic fan" patito carried a flavour of the "suffering = yearning for" patito. I'm starting to get the sense that it doesn't. But throw in ohbice's maniacs and now your expert scrutinizers, and my conceptual field has just expanded again. :D I might just go for the maniacs. Pietruzzo's photo, with its vaguely maniacal stare, is giving me a good laugh this morning.
     
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