Porca miseria

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by romeo, May 24, 2005.

  1. romeo New Member

    Sri Lanka, Sinhalese
    Hi all,
    can someone please tell me what it means and how to use it? I guessed that it's something similar to "santo cielo".
  2. It is the same as "cavolo" or "accidenti" or "accipicchia"
    It can be translated as "dash/dash it/damn!".
  3. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    I can't speak for British English, but dash/dash it sound very old fashioned to my American ears.
  4. leenico

    leenico Senior Member

    U.S.A. english
    Well what if you don't want to say the "d_mn" word? :D
  5. Cathy-Anne Senior Member

    "Dash it" is very old-fashioned. Of course I'm sure some people still use it, but it wouldn't be very common anymore. And an Irish person would never use it.....!

  6. I'm sorry, I'm not English.
    Mine was just a suggestion.
    Thanks for your explanation :)
  7. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    No need to apologize! We're all learning. :):)
  8. Ok, thanks.

  9. ikester Senior Member

    Naples, Italy
    US - American English
    You could always say "darn it!" or "dang it!" or "doggone it!"... or if you wanted to get strange looks from people, you could just go with a literal transation and say "pig misery!" :D :D
  10. morgana

    morgana Senior Member

    My English friends usually say "Bloody hell", or a similar but much coarser phrase :D
  11. Panpan

    Panpan Senior Member

    Sawbridgeworth, UK
    England, English
    A British English speaker who didn't want to swear might say 'bother!' (exasperation, frustraton) or 'dear me!' (any form of mild suprise, including amusement).
    L like Ikester's literal translation. I think I might try and coin 'Pigs might cry'.
    "darn it!" or "dang it!" or "doggone it!" sound American to my ears.

  12. transgor New Member

    I think the closest term is damn.
  13. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    I'd never translate porca miseria with that.

    Romeo, basically, never use the word porco/porca in all its forms unless you are among old friends or in a very informal situation, this is my suggestion. Of course in this case, it's a mild expression, let's say a level 1 out of 5 :D

    That interjection can be used when you are irritated, annoyed, surprised, depending on the context.
  14. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Most of the responses do favor that answer. And everything you said (including the rating) seems to agree with it. So how would you translate it?
  15. Silvia

    Silvia Senior Member

    According to the context, either goodness or darn, but I'm not a native English speaker, and I don't practice spoken language anymore... unluckily :( I mean not in everyday conversation, just business...
  16. Ian Senior Member

    Farnham, England
    UK - English
    Another alternative would be 'Blast' More likely to be said by someone over 30ish.

  17. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    Goodness and darn are rarely ever heard. I'd even venture to say they are said more often in jest.
  18. Panpan

    Panpan Senior Member

    Sawbridgeworth, UK
    England, English
    You will hear 'goodness me' and 'dear me!' in the UK, they're fairly common.

  19. jamal mohammed Member

    dear sir
    I would like to know what the exclamation "porca miseria" means thank you in
  20. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    Hello Mohammed and welcome! :)

    I am merging your post with a thread dedicated to this charming expression.
    BTW you could have found it yourself with our search engine.

    I hope you like the forum.

  21. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    Hope this doesn't require a new thread, but which is the more commonly heard in Italy

    "porca miseria"
    or the stronger
    "porca pu!!ana"?
  22. Idioteque

    Idioteque Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    I'm afraid that the second one is more common... :eek: especially if you're very angry... :D

    Ciao, Laura
  23. comespeaktome New Member

    UK English
    I think it definitely depends on whose company you're in, but for me (I'm 24), I'd say "shit" can be used in irritation, annoyance and surprise! It depends on the tone used: "shit!", "shiiiiit, really?!" (sorry, not easy to describe in writing!).

    However, I would probably put it higher in offensiveness than a 1 out of 5 - again depends on the company...I would comfortably say it among friends.

    If you want an irritated exclamation - useful for when you stub your toe, or smudge a job application form or spill milk all over the work surface, the English would readily say "Bugger!", but my American friends find this quite amusing as they don't use it at all!

    I don't know if this hindered or helped the original post, but it's interesting and gives you more of an idea of word usage! :)
  24. Aika New Member

    The second one is definitely more common at our house.
    Not so funny when my then 3-year-old went around saying it because she heard it from her grandmother all the time. :)

  25. BklynGiovanna Senior Member

    Brooklyn, New York
    USA English
    to me.. porca miseria might be equivalent to "Gosh Darnit!"

    I don't know.. just a guess.
  26. rom_itn

    rom_itn Senior Member

    Sri Lanka - Sinhalese
    :warn: porca va**a :warn: is another similar expression
  27. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    room itn

    the dictionary's translation of that is "holy cow", which is really not that strong.

    How strong is porca va!!a in italian?

    I have also heard the expression :warn: "vacca troia":warn: in a film. How common is this?
  28. Idioteque

    Idioteque Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    "Porca vacca" isn't very vulgar... but it's not very elegant too... :D

    The second one is very vulgar, but it's not very common... ":warn: Porca t***a :warn:" is definitely more used... you better avoid them... :eek:

    Ciao, Laura
  29. curon Senior Member

    Cardiff, UK
    Wales (UK) Welsh
    Thanks. I will avoid them. But it's nice to know they are there if I need them.
  30. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)

    I have been wondering where the expression "porca miseria" comes from. The literal translation "pig misery" (or rather "saw misery") doesn't make too much sense.

    My guess is that it comes from "sporca miseria" ("dirty misery") and the "s" has been dropped some time when the expression became idiomatic.

    Can anyone confirm or refute my conjecture and mybe give some more background?

    Thank you very much,
  31. Angel.Aura

    Angel.Aura del Mod, solo L'aura

    Roma, Italia
    Hi berndf,
    I can give you no background, but I intuitively confirm your guess.
  32. Eponymous New Member

    English - American
    I'd suspect that the "miseria" is a replacement for something that sounds cruder, like the "cow" in "Holy cow!"

    There is also the expression :warn: :warn: :warn: "Porca Madonna!":warn: :warn: :warn:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2008
  33. bise Senior Member

    I really would not suggest to use this expression to anybody!!!
    Very very very vulgar!!!!

    I think "miseria" comes to replace something other as well...
    I don't think It as something to do with "sporca"
  34. liliamokhtari Member

    Why an Irish wouldn't say Darsh it ?? I am lost ??
  35. jeets New Member

    Stay away from Porca Madonna. It is a phrase that blasphemes the Madonna, the mother of Christ. Someone of even the slightest refinement does not use it.

    The Madonna is held in very high esteem in Catholic Italy. It is the same as putting the F bomb and The Madonna’s name together. Someone just might take offense.

    Porca miseria! We have enough crap life hands us with no need to add to it.

    Ciao, Ciao Giovanni
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  36. Khalligo New Member

    Torino, Italy
    Yeah, as a gentleman I'd definitely avoid this kind of expression. Also because, as jeets said, somebody may take offence.
    Of course, I don't particoularly mind politeness in the presence of my friends =)
    Italian offers such a great deal of charming expressions, so I think that "porca miseria" is even more polite than lots of others (sometimes and unluckily more common).

    Why not "Holy craps" or "Holy shit", though the second one is not that elegant either? XD
  37. O'Livia New Member

    Los Angeles, CA
    English - USA
    Ciao tutti, If I stubbed my toe or spilled the milk, I would say "Shoot!" This is a very mild AE expression, a phrase I can use when children are present, for example.
  38. jeets New Member

    Porca means female pig. It can be used loosely to mean dirty woman, bitch or dirty bitch. Miseria means misery that comes from life in general. Miserable Pig, Miserable Dirty Pig, A Dirty Pig's Misery, A Pig's Dirty Misery would be a literal translation. I would use it in English to say Life's a Bitch, Miserable Life, Dirty Miserable Life, Dirty Bitch of a Life, (blank is a) Dirty Pig Misery,etc. Mix and match whatever way you like. It is a very mild oath that would barely raise an eyebrow if used, though it is not the classiest thing to say.

    Porca Puttana is a heavier phrase. Literally, Puttana means whore. You can put together your own translation. Dirty whore, slut pig, and a few others come to mind. However, you would probably throw in the F bomb when using a figurative translation into English for the proper finishing touch.

    Porca puttana is used amongst those who know each other. Used publicly or in a formal setting is generally a no-no. If you are in Italy and feel the urge to use the phase, use it as if you were using the F bomb.

    I agree with Idioteque above. Leave the swearing to the Italians. If something happens that makes you super pissed, you might throw it out there, especially if you can vent some steam and calm down.

    So, when the boss hands you your next pay check, look at how much it shrunk, gaze to the heavens and shout PORCA MISERIA. For the proper effect, give a greater emphasis to the syllables in PORCA and give a slight pause between them.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2009
  39. lsp

    lsp Senior Member

    US, English
    It's spelled puttana, jeets.
  40. jeets New Member

    Thanks, lsp. I changed it.
  41. mosquitoinasequindress

    mosquitoinasequindress Senior Member

    Parma - Italy
    Non credo che "porca miseria" possa essere tradotto letteralmente (come moltre espressioni idiomatiche). Cosa ne pensate di "holy cow" come equivalente ?
    (Mi ha sempre fatto molto ridere ma non saprei valutare il suo grado di volgarità)
  42. jeets New Member

    You actually could literally translate porca miseria into English and use it in a sentence and get the same meaning. To have it stand alone as two words would be much more difficult, but could be done. I am thinking of examples right now. However, the examples almost seem contrived, would not be typical, sound out of place, and perhaps used once. English has it own phrases that would be commonplace, as probably does every language. To my way of thinking, Life Is a Bitch or Miserable Bitch come the closest.

    Holy Cow registers zero on the Richter Scale of vulgarity. Children use it to express amazement or astonishment. Robin, Batman’s protégé, uses it in Batman comic books. It is a signature phrase of his that has the same meaning of astonishment. Holy Cow! Batman! often is said by Robin

    Holy cow means nothing else and makes no sense to use if you think about it. It comes from the mistaken belief in the west that cows are considered holy in India. However, there is a very common phrase, sacred cow, used in English which denotes anything that is not to be altered, touched, questioned, assaulted, disturbed, etc. and is held above all else. It is a quirk that holy and sacred mean the same thing and in any writing the two words are interchangeable. Except for here. Holy and sacred are not the same and could not be interchanged.
  43. kukie_13 New Member

    Porca Miseria means life is miserable (or poverty is miserable) it has nothing to do with pigs, this come directly from my nona and nono who live in Rome
  44. Lazzini

    Lazzini Senior Member

    I would go for "Oh bollocks!"
  45. Dannny Member

    what about "rats!"?
  46. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australian English
    'Bloody hell!', as morgana suggested, is how I would interpret that.
  47. danalto

    danalto Senior Member

    Roma, Italia, Europa
    Italy - Italian
    Hi, kukie, and welcome in WR! A couple of little corrections for you!
  48. laojim New Member

    It may be of interest that this expression has been made somewhat famous by the Magliazzi brothers who do a radio program about automobile repair on National Public Radio (NPR), a semi governmental radio network in the USA. The have used the expression and mused about it with Sylvia Poggiole, the NPR correspondent in Rome. They were asked about it's meaning but evaded the question. They use it in such a way as to suggest the meaning is one of exasperation.
  49. Aubrey1 New Member

    Italian (venetian)
    Why no one said that "porca miseria" is an expression used in Italy as jeets said about "Holy cow"? Here we use it when children are around, and in a different context (among adults people) they watch you in a strange way when you use it!
    Althought it is a bad expression for a formal speech you wouldn't have to use.

    Sorry for my bad english, I'm at my first post in here.
  50. casaerwin New Member

    I realize this is an old thread, but I saw something that I thought should be addressed:

    About the literal translation of "pig misery" we need to clarify here that "porca" in this instance does not mean "pig." It is not a noun as used here, but rather an adjective, modifying "miseria" and should be translated as "filthy" or "dirty".

    I realize that this has nothing to do with the idiomatic translation, but I just wanted to address it.

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