I capelli le scendevano disordinatamente sulle spalle

theartichoke

Senior Member
English - Canada
Hi everyone,

Could someone confirm for me whether there's necessarily a pejorative nuance, however slight, to disordinatamente in this sentence? Or could it be neutral? A young man is watching a young woman whom he's kind of in love with, from afar. It's the first time he's seen her after days of hanging around the place where he last saw her, hoping for her to come back. Finally, she walks past him as he hides in a doorway. The rest of the description is merely of her clothing: Indossava un soprabito chiaro e una gonna a quadri. Portava un paio di scarpe nere, col tacco alto. I capelli le scendevano disordinatamente sulle spalle.

There's nothing else in the book to suggest she goes about poorly groomed, but all the English synonyms I can think of -- her hair fell untidily / messily / in disorder over her shoulders -- suggest exactly that. (It is not, unfortunately, a windy day. :)) Could it instead be something neutral like Her hair fell scattered over her shoulders, implying no more than that she's wearing her hair down, not up?
 
  • rcrivello

    Member
    Italy - Italian
    It's true that he's saying that her hair were untidy, but I don't think it carries necessarily a negative connotation. He might like the way she looks with her hair not combed. The Italian could have said, for example, Aveva i capelli scompigliati sulle spalle. Maybe ruffled would convey better this meaning?
     

    Benzene

    Banned
    Italian from Italy
    I suggest "ruffled".
    For me there is not a negative connotation but a sex appeal as if this hairstyle was wanted specifically.

    Bye,
    Benzene
     

    joanvillafane

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    How about something less judgmental - and of course, less literal -
    Her hair fell loosely over her shoulders/around her shoulders.

    There might be a better word to suggest a casual, unstructured hairstyle.
     

    HalfTaff

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Does "Her hair cascaded over her shoulders" convey the idea of natural and attractive disorder (if that's the intended meaning here)?
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Thanks for confirming that it's something more neutral/positive than "untidy," which just seemed wrong in the context. And great suggestions, everyone, but some of them are hard to work into a graceful-sounding sentence: care to give me one with "disarray[ed]" that doesn't make her sound like a complete mess, rrose? :D Personally, I think "dishevelled" would sound attractively sexy if she were in bed, but she's walking down the street; "cascaded" is very attractive, but to my ear not at all disorderly. "Ruffled" makes me want to add something not in the text, like "her hair, ruffled by the wind, fell over her shoulders." (There is a big gust of wind some ten minutes later, so maybe I can invent a breeze? I kind of like the sound of "ruffled" in that case). Hair that "falls loosely" is nice and neutral, but not especially disordinati.

    I'll mull it over. The important thing is that I know her hair isn't supposed to be "messy" or "untidy"!
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    I love a challenge! Her hair fell in disarray about her shoulders. I know one man's disarray is another woman's mess, but still... :rolleyes:
    Hmmm. I'm filing this one with "dishevelled": excellent if the lady in question has been surprised in deshabille, or if if she's about to get out of, or into, your bed, but more than a little startling if she's walking down the street wearing an overcoat in the generally well-groomed year of 1950. :D
     

    ohbice

    Senior Member
    I capelli le scendevano disordinatamente sulle spalle a me sembra una cosa che da l'idea della trascuratezza. Magari non proprio una persona trasandata e disordinata, ma nemmeno un giudizio neutro. Un giudizio negativo, per quanto focalizzato.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    "Tousled" is a good word, and one that hadn't occurred to me.:thumbsup: Maybe, to shorten it, Her hair fell tousled over her shoulders. It's a bit like "ruffled," but seems less to demand a mention of what did the tousling / ruffling.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    The important thing is that I know her hair isn't supposed to be "messy" or "untidy"!
    tousled - Dictionary Definition

    Anything that's tousled is rumpled or disheveled, like your tousled hair when you first get out of bed in the morning.
    The adjective tousled can be used for anything that's untidy, but you'll usually see it describing a head of hair. Tousled hair is messy, windblown, or otherwise unkempt.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Tousled hair is messy, windblown, or otherwise unkempt.
    I'm starting to assume that there's probably an element of "windblown" here, and that I was wrong in initially saying it wasn't a windy day: it's una brutta giornata, it's just about to rain, and we get una ventata d'aria gelida three short paragraphs after the line in question. At any rate, the point about tousled is that even if tousled hair looks exactly the same as hair that is messy, untidy, dishevelled, in disarray, or unkempt, all of these words have slightly different nuances, and tousled, at least to my ear, is on the neutral/positive end of the lot. Unkempt is probably at the opposite end, and dishevelled can be almost as bad, depending on the context.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Tellure, that’s not the way most dictionaries define the word. Most (including Wordreference) describe it as ‘disheveled’ among other adjectives.

    tousled - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    disordered or disheveled

    How do you understand the word ‘disordinatamente’ in the sentence, I capelli le scendevano disordinatamente sulle spalle? ’Untidily’ or ‘messily’ is how most dictionaries translate it.

    Edit: I notice that WordReference translates it ‘chaotically’, which I don’t consider quite as negative in this context.

    hair fell chaotically" - Google Search
     
    Last edited:

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Tellure, that’s not the way most dictionaries define the word. Most (including Wordreference) describe it as ‘disheveled’ among other adjectives.

    tousled - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    disordered or disheveled

    Vero, ma dallo stesso link di WR, quando esplicitamente riferito ai capelli, la descrizione è:

    "to make a little untidy:
    The wind tousled our hair


    How do you understand the word ‘disordinatamente’ in the sentence, I capelli le scendevano disordinatamente sulle spalle? ’Untidily’ or ‘messily’ is how most dictionaries translate it.

    "Disordinatamente" io lo intendo come se i capelli non fossero stati appena pettinati. I capelli lunghi tendono a scompigliarsi leggermente, anche senza che vi sia necessariamente vento, e quindi non scendevano perfettamente ordinati e allineati come appena uscita dal parrucchiere, non so come dire. Spettinati, ma in modo attraente. Io la vedo così.

    disordinato
    [di capelli] spettinato
    disordinato in "Sinonimi e Contrari"

    Edit: I notice that WordReference translates it ‘chaotically’, which I don’t consider quite as negative in this context.

    hair fell chaotically" - Google Search
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Vero, ma dallo stesso link di WR, quando esplicitamente riferito ai capelli, la descrizione è:

    "to make a little untidy:
    The wind tousled our hair
    And further down:
    v.t.
    1. to disorder or dishevel: The wind tousled our hair.

      You can’t trust dictionaries. :D
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    And further down:
    v.t.
    1. to disorder or dishevel: The wind tousled our hair.

      You can’t trust dictionaries. :D
    Sì, l'avevo visto, naturalmente. E quindi entrambe sono valide. :D

    Forse potrebbe funzionare il verbo "straggle"?!

    VERBO
    If a small quantity of things straggle over an area, they cover it in an uneven or untidy way.
    Her grey hair straggled in wisps about her face.
    Straggle Definizione significato | Dizionario inglese Collins

    Un illustre esempio, anche se la situazione è diversa:

    "He resorted to his pint of wine for consolation, drank it all in a few minutes, and fell asleep on his arms, with his hair straggling over the table, and a long winding-sheet in the candle dripping down upon him."
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens: Part 2 Chapter 4 (continued) - The Literature Page

    "Her hair straggled (in wisps?) over her shoulders"?

    Come suona?

    Edit:
    Anche i verbi "tumble" e "toss" sembrano avere più o meno lo stesso significato, o mi sbaglio?

    "Wounded as he was, it was wonderful how fast he could move, his grizzled hair tumbling over his face, and his face itself as red as a red ensign with his haste and fury."
    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: Part 5 Chapter 26 (continued) - The Literature Page

    "his long black hair tossing over his shoulders in the light of the blazing branch that made the shadows jump and quiver.
    The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling: Chapter 1 (continued) - The Literature Page
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I'd say straggle absolutely doesn't work, sorry, it would give the impression that the hair was moving around on its own, in my opinion. On the other had, tumbled seems like a good choice! :)
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    If a small quantity of things straggle over an area, they cover it in an uneven or untidy way.
    Her grey hair straggled in wisps about her face.
    I'd say the problem with "straggle" is right there in the definition: it suggests "a small quantity" of thin or wispy hair, and thus makes our heroine -- who's supposed to be a pretty young woman -- sound unattractive.

    "Her hair tumbled over her shoulders," on the other hand, is attractive, but to me sounds like the hair is in the act of "tumbling": if she were to release her hair from being pinned up in a bun, it would "tumble over her shoulders," but it can't keep tumbling as she walks down the street. :) "Her hair was tumbled over her shoulders" gets rid of the continuous motion problem, but sounds messier.

    So many verbs....:D
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    I'd say the problem with "straggle" is right there in the definition: it suggests "a small quantity" of thin or wispy hair, and thus makes our heroine -- who's supposed to be a pretty young woman -- sound unattractive.

    "Her hair tumbled over her shoulders," on the other hand, is attractive, but to me sounds like the hair is in the act of "tumbling": if she were to release her hair from being pinned up in a bun, it would "tumble over her shoulders," but it can't keep tumbling as she walks down the street. :) "Her hair was tumbled over her shoulders" gets rid of the continuous motion problem, but sounds messier.

    So many verbs....:D
    Wow! Quante sfumature di significato a me sconosciute! :D:D
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I was just reading a British "giallo" from the 30s and this jumped out
    He was a small man, with a little straggling and dishevelled grey hair on the sides of his head and watery weak eyes.
    So dishevelled/straggling = not very attractive. :D
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Does "Her hair cascaded over her shoulders" convey the idea of natural and attractive disorder (if that's the intended meaning here)?
    Potrebbe bastare, allora, qualcosa del genere.

    Oppure "Her (loose) hair streamed over her shoulders".

    Ho trovato una discussione nel forum English Only con "tumble": hair tumbled down

    "Then she happens to glance beyond him and this time she really does notice Gerd Allen Cole, just standing there with all that fabulous blond hair tumbled down to his eyebrows and the sleeves of a white shirt far too big for him rolled up to his substandard biceps."

    "Her hair tumbled over her shoulders," on the other hand, is attractive, but to me sounds like the hair is in the act of "tumbling": if she were to release her hair from being pinned up in a bun, it would "tumble over her shoulders," but it can't keep tumbling as she walks down the street. :) "Her hair was tumbled over her shoulders" gets rid of the continuous motion problem, but sounds messier.

    So many verbs....:D
    2
    e. To hang down: Her hair tumbled onto her shoulders
    tumble

    Mi sbaglierò, ma almeno in base a questa definizione, non sembrerebbe esserci un "continuous motion problem".
     
    Last edited:

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    e. To hang down: Her hair tumbled onto her shoulders
    tumble
    Mi sbaglierò, ma almeno in base a questa definizione, non sembrerebbe esserci un "continuous motion problem".
    Hmm. I wouldn't say that the definition is wrong, but as I said earlier, to me hair that "tumbles down" sounds like it's in motion, and no matter how much I think about it, I can't get my ear to hear "tumbles" in any other way. Note how almost all of the other definitions in the link above do involve motion: maybe my ear has been cross-contaminated by all the motion-based meanings of "tumble." :)

    Notice, too, that the guy who has "fabulous blond hair tumbled down to his eyebrows" is being described in the present tense, so it's the present-tense version of "her hair was tumbled over her shoulders," which is untidiness, not motion. "He is standing there with hair tumbled down to his eyebrows" (no motion) isn't the same as "he is standing there with his hair tumbling down to his eyebrows" (motion).

    Also, for what it's worth, I looked up tumble in the full Oxford English Dictionary (which I can't link to because it's subscription only), and there's no definition there that says it can mean "to hang down." But I can't definitively say that it isn't used that way: just that I can't hear it!
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hmm. I wouldn't say that the definition is wrong, but as I said earlier, to me hair that "tumbles down" sounds like it's in motion, and no matter how much I think about it, I can't get my ear to hear "tumbles" in any other way. Note how almost all of the other definitions in the link above do involve motion: maybe my ear has been cross-contaminated by all the motion-based meanings of "tumble." :)

    Notice, too, that the guy who has "fabulous blond hair tumbled down to his eyebrows" is being described in the present tense, so it's the present-tense version of "her hair was tumbled over her shoulders," which is untidiness, not motion. "He is standing there with hair tumbled down to his eyebrows" (no motion) isn't the same as "he is standing there with his hair tumbling down to his eyebrows" (motion).

    Also, for what it's worth, I looked up tumble in the full Oxford English Dictionary (which I can't link to because it's subscription only), and there's no definition there that says it can mean "to hang down." But I can't definitively say that it isn't used that way: just that I can't hear it!
    Ok, mi arrendo serenamente all'orecchio dei nativi, come è giusto che sia. ;) Se possibile, mi piacerebbe sapere qual è stata la tua scelta finale.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Ok, mi arrendo serenamente all'orecchio dei nativi, come è giusto che sia. ;) Se possibile, mi piacerebbe sapere qual è stata la tua scelta finale.
    There were lots of possibilities here, but in the end I went with my own alternative suggestion from post #1: Her hair fell scattered over her shoulders. Given that the Italians, with the exception of ohbice in #15, seemed to feel that this disordinatamente was on the neutral/positive side of things, I opted to keep it mainly neutral and not too "marked" (i.e., it doesn't jump out at you as something that must be noticed).
     

    Tellure

    Senior Member
    Italian
    There were lots of possibilities here, but in the end I went with my own alternative suggestion from post #1: Her hair fell scattered over her shoulders. Given that the Italians, with the exception of ohbice in #15, seemed to feel that this disordinatamente was on the neutral/positive side of things, I opted to keep it mainly neutral and not too "marked" (i.e., it doesn't jump out at you as something that must be noticed).
    Saggia scelta. Grazie per averla condivisa con noi. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top