pararsi il culo - paraculo

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siciliana

New Member
italian
"pararsi il culo" e "paraculo"
nel senso di proteggere la propria posizione a discapito degli altri.. tipiche espressioni italiane.
Stefania
 
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  • Marilena

    Member
    English, Scotland
    Another alternative could be: "To look out for number one" (pensare egoisticamente a se stesso al di sopra di tutti gli altri).

    "Paraculo" seems slightly different, in that a "paraculo" is someone who sucks up to their boss, for example, to the detriment of others. To put it in vulgar terms: "a kiss ass"; "brown nose", "arse licker"; "sook" (Scottish); sycophant.
     

    nicaldo

    Senior Member
    german-english bilingual
    Hey everbody

    I know pretty well what 'paraculo' means but I have no idea how to say it in English. I mean the geek at school who doesn't want to help other students during exams and hides his sheet of paper with his elbow.
    Maybe you can come up with an English word.
    Thanks a lot
     

    vincenzochiaravalle

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Dear friend,

    I'm afraid "paraculo" has little to do with the conduct you describe. In Italian, all I can think of to politely define such a person is "secchione", or "saputello", and my English vocabulary is limited to "swot" and "sap", which is even less helpful.

    Otherwise, personally I'd resort to more offensive words, and then explain the context.

    Take care,

    V.
     

    lamelamara

    Member
    italia, italiano
    I can't translate the word in English, but maybe the story of the word can help: it's referred to ancient periods, when people were punished in a pillory, and rich people used to pay somebody to look after their own back, literally, with the aim of defending themselves from abuses. So paraculo is somebody who never loses too much, or who can take advantage in any situation. Hope you like the story. :D

    (please correct me)
     

    fragasp

    Senior Member
    I don't speak so good english (please correct any error), but I can tell what "paraculo" means: it's a subtle astute person and don't forget this word is often used in loving/tender way.
     

    Kumidan

    Senior Member
    Italia - italiano
    I think that the correct word for "the geek at school who doesn't want to help other students during exams and hides his sheet of paper with his elbow" is "secchione", as vincenzochiaravalle wrote.
     

    Salegrosso

    Senior Member
    Verona (Italy)
    Non sono d'accordo su "secchione".
    Secchione è chi studia tantissimo, anche a discapito di uscite con gli amici, maun secchione non necessariamente deve essere geloso del suo operato ed egoista.
     

    vincenzochiaravalle

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Non sono d'accordo su "secchione".
    Secchione è chi studia tantissimo, anche a discapito di uscite con gli amici, maun secchione non necessariamente deve essere geloso del suo operato ed egoista.
    Certo che no! :) Infatti, se io volessi descrivere il tipo di persona che il nostro amico sta cercando di descrivere, assumendo il punto di vista di uno studente mediocre, credo che direi "quello è il tipico secchione testa di cazzo :warn: che non ti fa copiare..." o qualcosa di simile. Non escludo che esista una parola che stigmatizzi proprio QUEL tipo di condatta, ma non mi viene; è un po' che non vado più a 'scuola', fortunatamente. ;)
     

    Salbina

    Senior Member
    US
    Italiano
    Hi everybody,

    I was wondering, how would you "translate" that particular meaning of "paraculo" as a person you never know if it's talking seriously, both in a funny and in an untrusty sense, so that you aren't sure if you can believe what he/she is saying? And, at the same time, this person is shrewd and always knows what to say to obtain what he/she wants.

    Very difficult, I think...
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Hi everybody,

    I was wondering, how would you "translate" that particular meaning of "paraculo" as a person you never know if it's talking seriously, both in a funny and in an untrusty sense, so that you aren't sure if you can believe what he/she is saying? And, at the same time, this person is shrewd and always knows what to say to obtain what he/she wants.

    Very difficult, I think...
    Tu descrivi due cose diverse: un opportunista leccaculo e un paraculo.
     

    Salbina

    Senior Member
    US
    Italiano
    Tu descrivi due cose diverse: un opportunista leccaculo e un paraculo.
    Sì, sono due cose diverse (anche se leccaculo per me è un adulatore, mentre il paraculo è più sottile, ma ci siamo capiti), però sono accomunate dal fatto che ci riferisca ad entrambe come ad un "paraculo", almeno dalle mie parti, con questi termini gergali non si sa mai.

    Anyway, how would you say them both in English?
     

    raisetheflavour

    Banned
    Italian Italy
    Ha ragione paulfromitaly the best word for paraculo in inglese is opportunist. Mentre il leccaculo si dice come in italiano, quindi: arse-licker.

    Leccaculo= ass-licker/bum-sucker
    Paraculo = clever bastard ?
    Sorry miri but ass vuol dire asino non c...
     
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    miri

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Non credo proprio :D , cioè non solo, e penso te lo confermeranno anche altri.
    Intanto (Zanichelli) ass (2)
    n. (volg. slang, spec. USA)
    1 culo (volg.); chiappe (pl.)
    2 (buco del) culo (volg.)
     

    miri

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    I didn't tell you not to use British English ;). You told me not to use "ass" because it means "asino" ...:))
    By the way "arse" is as "impolite" as "ass"
    arse
    n. (volg. GB)
    1 culo (volg.)
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    By the way "arse" is as "impolite" as "ass"
    arse
    n. (volg. GB)
    1 culo (volg.)
    Quite so, miri!:thumbsup:

    Chi si protegge le chiappe, no?.....hmmmm! Someone who knows how to look after himself and his own interests. Lamelamara's little story is brilliant, by the way!:D And how things change: once a paraculo was paid to look after somebody else's interests!:)

    I find this difficult to express in just one word in English....opportunist for sure, as Paul said, but the Italian word is SOOOO much better and funnier!
     

    saltapicchio

    Senior Member
    Italia (Roma) - Italiano
    Il paraculo in pratica è un furbacchione opportunista (sul dictionary di wordreference ho trovato smart ass /smart aleck).

    Si pronuncia paracùlo.

    Para-culo ossia di chi è in grado di pararsi/proteggersi/ripararsi il culo.
    Si dice anche "ti sei parato il culo", nel senso "ti sei garantito una certa sicurezza".
    Il paraculo è anche una persona che riesce ad uscire facilmente da situazioni imbarazzanti
     

    saltapicchio

    Senior Member
    Italia (Roma) - Italiano
    In effetti in italiano si può dire (ovviamente in forma colloquiale e comunque dipende sempre da con chi stai parlando) "prenderlo nel culo":warn: o "metterlo nel culo":warn: (potete ovviamente immaginare benissimo cosa), nel caso di avere subìto o, al contrario, avere dato una fregatura a qualcuno. Se si vuole evitare di essere troppo diretti si può dire di "averlo preso in quel posto".
    Potete quindi immaginare come il paraculo sia una persona che "in quel posto" non lo prende ma che invece ce lo mette.

    Posso immaginare come un linguaggio del genere NON possa essere accettabile per un inglese.:D
     

    Salbina

    Senior Member
    US
    Italiano
    Grazie Miri e Saltapicchio! Le vostre traduzioni sono proprio quello che avevo in mente, gergali e un po' volgari come in italiano. Sapete se sono altrettanto diffusamente usate (ovviamente in contesti MOLTO informali...:D)?
     

    saltapicchio

    Senior Member
    Italia (Roma) - Italiano
    Grazie Miri e Saltapicchio! Le vostre traduzioni sono proprio quello che avevo in mente, gergali e un po' volgari come in italiano. Sapete se sono altrettanto diffusamente usate (ovviamente in contesti MOLTO informali...:D)?
    No, non ne ho idea, penso che per questo sarà necessario l'intervento di qualche madrelingua.:)
     

    beccamutt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Not understanding exactly what kind of person "paraculo" describes, could it possibly be close to a "teacher's pet"? A "teacher's pet" isn't neccessarily an opportunist (though could be) but could be the student who doesn't want to help his classmates and covers his exams with his elbow because he wants to get the best score in the class?

    I don't speak so very good english (please correct any error), but I can tell you what "paraculo" means: it's a subtly astute person and don't forget this word is often used in a loving/tender way.
    Very good, Fragasp :)

    In this case I would not say "teacher's pet" as this has a negative connotation.

    I just found another thread on this same topic: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=152784
     
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    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    Not understanding exactly what kind of person "paraculo" describes, could it possibly be close to a "teacher's pet"?
    In a very specific context, yes, but not in general.
    A teacher's pet is likely to be also a paraculo, but it's not necessary true that a paraculo is a teacher's pet.
     

    Salbina

    Senior Member
    US
    Italiano
    Not understanding exactly what kind of person "paraculo" describes, could it possibly be close to a "teacher's pet"? A "teacher's pet" isn't neccessarily an opportunist (though could be) but could be the student who doesn't want to help his classmates and covers his exams with his elbow because he wants to get the best score in the class?

    Hi Becca, I would translate "a teacher's (or boss) pet" as a "lecchino", someone who behaves "servily" (I don't know if this word's correct, sorry....) with power, with no dignity and proud, and often isn't very smart, therefore uses other means to reach his goals (but is ALWAYS considered despicable, even by the boss, unless this is as stupid as his pet...).

    Instead, "paraculo" is surely smart, is able to flatter, but not in the thick way as a "lecchino" does, (and anyway this isn't his main characteristic), knows how to use words and people for his own aim. Surely is an "opportunist", as Paul and others suggested, but I wonder if "smart ass/aleck" and "scheming bastard" (Miri and Saltapicchio's translations, which seem to catch the right shade) would so readily suggest all this to an English (and American etc...) ear.

    Thanks everybody!
     
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    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Uhm... what do you say about "smart-ass"?

    At the end of the day a "paraculo" is a person who always manages to find his/her way out of every situation, easy or not, figuratively speaking and not... it's kind of a general expression which works in various contexts. Sometimes he/she may be sneaky, subtle, but one thing's for sure: he/she knows how to get out of every situation without having to pay for it. Sometimes just giving compliments, others having to make huge efforts.

    But this is just my opinion. ;-) By the way, I don't know if "smart-ass" covers all of these meanings.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    By the way, I don't know if "smart-ass" covers all of these meanings.
    Actually, both smart ass and smart aleck are similar to "paraculo", but they're not quite the same, although the dictionaries say they are!

    I think it's difficult to translate "paraculo" using just one word, we'd probably use a different word/expression each time according to the context. A good example is "teacher's pet", who is, as Paul says, a specific kind of "paraculo".
     

    Azazel81

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    Actually, both smart ass and smart aleck are similar to "paraculo", but they're not quite the same, although the dictionaries say they are!

    I think it's difficult to translate "paraculo" using just one word, we'd probably use a different word/expression each time according to the context. A good example is "teacher's pet", who is, as Paul says, a specific kind of "paraculo".
    Honestly I beg to differ: "teacher's pet" is a student who's the professor's favourite, right? And we have an expression which is similar to that: "il cocco del professore". But a "paraculo" (at least in Milan) has nothing to do with that.
    That's why I'm saying that maybe "smart-ass" could be closer to it. But here I let you natives speak since of course you know more than I do.
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Nobody has mentioned "ass-coverer" (or "arse-coverer") - one who is given to covering his ass (chi e' portato a pararsi il culo).

    No?
     

    Murphy

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    I agree with LondonCalling that we probably don't have one word which covers all the meanings of "paraculo" given here.

    A "smart-arse":warn: (BE) is someone who always seems to have the right answer or say the right thing, a fact which other people find annoying. It doesn't necessarily imply that he is good at "covering his own arse" or that he is a "leccaculo".

    If you wanted to convey the whole meaning of the Italian expression, you would probably have to use two or three English expressions.

    Eg: a brown-nose scheming smart-arse (I'm not thinking of anyone in particular:D:D)
     
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    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Well, an ass-coverer is someone who habitually behaves in such a way that he cannot be be blamed for a failure to acheive an objective, or for a setback or a misfortune (whether through his own fault, or through circumstance), or can justify the failure in retrospect, or place the blame elsewhere.
    He will often do so by telling you in advance how difficult/impossible a task is, or maybe by putting his 'reservations' hidden in a long memo to the boss, which he can produced later if need be.
    This is what 'covering your arse' means. In my opinion, in this sense most politicians are arse-coverers - do you hear any of them ever owning up to their mistakes?

    Example:
    "It's really frustrating working with Fred - he's such an ass-coverer: he'll give you a thousand reasons in advance why the timescales are impossible, and then when it all goes tits-up he'll say 'I told you so' ."
     
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    Salbina

    Senior Member
    US
    Italiano
    Well, an ass-coverer is someone who habitually behaves in such a way that he cannot be be blamed for a failure to acheive an objective, or for a setback or a misfortune (whether through his own fault, or through circumstance), or can justify the failure in retrospect, or place the blame elsewhere.
    He will often do so by telling you in advance how difficult/impossible a task is, or maybe by putting his 'reservations' hidden in a long memo to the boss, which he can produced later if need be.
    This is what 'covering your arse' means. In my opinion, in this sense most politicians are arse-coverers - do you hear any of them ever owning up to their mistakes?

    Example:
    "It's really frustrating working with Fred - he's such an ass-coverer: he'll give you a thousand reasons in advance why the timescales are impossible, and then when it all goes tits-up he'll say 'I told you so' ."
    I think "arse-coverer" would be well translated in Italian by the expressions "mettere le mani avanti/pararsi il culo (più volgare, of course)/fare lo scaricabarile", which haven't much to do with being a "paraculo", at least how I mean it!

    Anyway, thanks everybody, now I've 1) a lot of ideas for the different kinds of "paraculi" you can meet and 2) a little taste of how hard can be a translator's life...:);)
     

    naillirt

    New Member
    italian
    I think Paraculo is pronounced:

    para'culo.

    So, we can call it clever bastard in English. Any other suggestion?
    (I was trying to describe the latest Natwest bank - really paraculo :) - advertisement to my boyfriend, and the only word I could think of was paraculo, but I can't find a good tralsation for it).
    Thanks
     

    oakleaf

    Senior Member
    english - united states
    The Garzanti translates "paraculo" with "scheming bastard".

    Would the English native speakers agree with this expression?
    I get the feeling, living here in italy, that it carries an implication of someone who gets away with things. It's not just the scheming, but the fact of always managing to come out smelling like roses. To "parare il culo" means to "cover one's ass" which carries that implication i think.
     
    Well, actually the Garzanti Italian dictionary says this is the meaning of "Paraculo":
    agg. e s. m. [f. -a] (region. volg.) si dice di persona furba, abile nel fare il proprio interesse senza darlo a vedere.


    And obivously the meaning of the word can slightly change according to the context.
    You might be really annoyed by the person and in that case you would use the word as a synonym of opportunist, but if you're talking to a friend you might want to use it in a more playful and friendly way.
    In the latter situation, what would you say in English?
     

    Marinels

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hi everybody!
    I'd like to reopen this old thread because I don't think that Marilena was right saying that "Paraculo" is a Brown Nose etc etc..
    Paraculo is someone who behaves trying to be safe in every situation, leaving the responsability to someone else.
    I don't know if I just gave the right description of a "Paraculo" but I'm pretty sure that it's not a kiss ass!!

    So anyone who knows the name and not just the verb?

    Thanks!!

    Marinels
     
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