pararsi il culo - paraculo

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rrose17

Senior Member
Canada, English
You might be right. TO be a kiss ass or a brown nose means you're pandering to others, never disagreeing, going out of your way to flatter your boss, for example. Maybe what you're looking for is something like "a goody two-shoes" which where I come from is very common way, a little childish perhaps, of describing someone who never breaks the rules, who always follows orders, etc.
 
  • kiddox

    Member
    Italian (Italy)
    Living in Rome - the place where this term supposedly originated - I hear the term paraculo a lot. Another milder way for it is paravento, which involves the same meaning of paraculo, but with a more affectionate and tender tone :)

    Just wanted to add another English term that comes to my mind: smooth operator.

    For instance:
    Stai attento a quello lì. E' un gran paraculo, ti farebbe accettare qualsiasi cosa.

    You ought to be careful with that guy. He's very smooth / a very smooth operator who can make you agree to almost anything.
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Paraculo is someone who behaves trying to be safe in every situation, leaving the responsability to someone else.
    Hmmm...interesting...

    slacker
    shirker
    politician (derived from "poly" = many, "tics" = blood sucking insects)
    dodger
    triangulator
     

    Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Personally, I say "paraculo" to refer to a "furbacchione" , a "clever bastard", maybe.
    There's this political-cultural show on TV these days, which is attracting millions of audience. It's superbly done and deserves the success it's getting. Nevertheless, me and my friends often refer, jokingly, to the conductor as "un gran paraculo".
    GS
     

    DavideV

    Senior Member
    Italian
    The difference between the two terms is really deep.

    Someone who "covers his back" is someone who does everything he can to avoid troubles, but he's still doing his work.
    A "dodger" (just to randomly pick one suggestion of TimLA's) is someone who does everything he can to avoid both troubles and works.
     

    L'equilibrista

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello,
    could you help me with this?

    "Dannato X, gli para il culo solo perché (Y) gli ha salvato la vita!"

    "Damned x, he is only protecting his ass (?) because he
    saved his life!"

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     

    greenfield

    Senior Member
    italian
    Paraculo is simply like this: do you know someone who do his best to "cover his ass" in any situation, even if this attitude could damage other people ?
    this is a paraculo. A typical unresponsible person, selfish and opportunist
    As far as I am concerned, I hate those kind of people :)
     

    vincenzochiaravalle

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    Paraculo is simply like this: do you know someone who do his best to "cover his ass" in any situation, even if this attitude could damage other people ?
    this is a paraculo. A typical unresponsible person, selfish and opportunist
    As far as I am concerned, I hate those kind of people :)
    Yes and no. As a matter of fact, :warn: "paraculo" is one of those terms the meaning of which depends hugely on a) the context and b) the speaker's real intention/feelings. Kind of like the English :warn: "bastard" the word has negative/offensive meaning per se, but it can - and will - often be made to fit into positive/appreciative descriptions.

    If someone calls you a "bastard" we know that, by default, he disapproves of you. In such cases, greenfield's definition of "paraculo" is perfect, with the only caveat that the term is also used rather loosely, to fit the general idea of an :warn: "ass", or a "son of a bitch"

    However, a friend can call you "bastard" or "son of a bitch" in an appreciative way, if he has a satisfied grin on his face or he's patting your shoulder while he does so. In that case, you are a "clever bastard", and depending on the context, it might very well be meant as a compliment. When that happens, "paraculo" defines the resorceful, witty person who is especially good with words, cutting remarks et cetera. The fact that the sharpest and most amusing comments are almost always made at someone else's expenses - sad truth that it is - is purely coincidental.

    I get called "paraculo" a lot, and it is rarely my interlocutor's wish to stigmatize me as a :warn: "selfish, irresponsible son of a bitch"

    Over and out. ;)
     

    aefrizzo

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Buon giorno. Troppo tardi?
    BROOM-HILDA,
    Limitatamente ai primi 5 post, e cioè a "pararsi il :warning: culo".
    Nella striscia del 14 Febbraio un personaggio (Gaylord) definisce un'arte quella di "keeping one's tail feathers intact".
    Mi chiedo se i madrelingua la ritengono un'espressione equivalente ed accettabile in una conversazione "educata".
    Grazie.
     
    Last edited:

    giginho

    Senior Member
    Italiano & Piemontese
    Capita a fagiolo questa discussione.

    Ieri parlavo con un tedesco, quindi né io né lui siamo madrelingua inglesi, e gli ho detto: "I have to send that email to his boss, I have to shield my :warn:ass....it is an :warn:ass-shielding email".

    I supposed to be hilarious, he did understand what I was saying...the point is: Can a real native understand these expressions? Can I use ":warn:ass-shielding" or "to shield my :warn:ass" to mean "pararmi il culo": cover my back, save myself from troubles that can arise if, for example, I won't alert my boss that a colleague is :warn:shooting the shit?
     

    rrose17

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Ciao I would certainly understand what you meant but I would assume that as a non-native speaker you were confusing the expression with the very common "covering my ass" (does ass really need a :warning:?) rather than being a hilarious joke. Sorry.
    Also you mean I thought it was hilarious or it was supposed to be hilarious. I supposed to be is wrong grammatically. At a stretch you might say I supposed it to be but it sounds wrong in this context.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Buon giorno. Troppo tardi?
    BROOM-HILDA,
    Limitatamente ai primi 5 post, e cioè a "pararsi il :warning: culo".
    Nella striscia del 14 Febbraio un personaggio (Gaylord) definisce un'arte quella di "keeping one's tail feathers intact".
    Mi chiedo se i madrelingua la ritengono un'espressione equivalente ed accettabile in una conversazione "educata".
    Grazie.
    E' la prima volta che la sento. Forse l'autore l'ha inventata per la striscia.:)
     

    Paulfromitaly

    MODerator
    Italian
    I wonder if ‘jobsworth’ might sometimes fit the bill.
    If I compare

    jobsworth: a person in a position of minor authority who invokes the letter of the law in order to avoid any action requiring initiative, cooperation, etc
    and
    paraculo: in senso fig., chi sa abilmente e con disinvoltura volgere a proprio favore una situazione, o fare comunque il proprio interesse.

    I think they don't overlap although it's true that a jobsworth is a paraculo.
     

    theartichoke

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    No. Smart-ass = saputello/a
    But isn't a saputello/a a "know-it-all"? I think of a "smart-ass" and a "know-it-all" as being rather different types: one can be both at the same time, of course, but "smart-ass" has a distinct element of sfacciato/a, whereas "know-it-all" doesn't.
     

    Benzene

    Senior Member
    Italian from Italy
    The Urban Dictionary says that 'paraculo' can mean:
    1. A smartass (someone who is obnoxiously self-assured)-
    2. A cunning opportunist individual, sly in taking advantage of the social mechanisms that govern the world without showing it. Servile and brown noser towards power.
    3. A conman, someone who conducts a confidence game: who defrauds someone after winning his trust.
    Bye,
    Benzene
     
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