Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by kurberry, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. kurberry New Member

    United States - English
    Can anyone give a good translation of this word in English? Any hints about its origins?
  2. Idioteque

    Idioteque Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Hello Kurberry!
    This term indicates an ambition without any chance to be achieved... an aspiration which is higher than a person actual abilities... we often talk about "velleità artistiche" or "velleità letterarrie"...
    Garzanti suggest "foolish ambition" and "foolish aspiration" as possible translation... :) but I guess there is something better, so I would wait for other suggestions... ;)

    About its origins... it has a clear reference to the Latin verb volo, vis, volui velle, which means "to want"... :)

  3. winnie

    winnie Senior Member

    italy, italian
    Merriam-Webster reports:

    One entry found for velleity.

    Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
    Etymology: New Latin velleitas, from Latin velle to wish, will -- more at WILL
    1 : the lowest degree of volition
    2 : a slight wish or tendency : INCLINATION

    velle in Latin means to wish something but with poor chances to obtain

  4. Idioteque

    Idioteque Senior Member

    Italy - Italian
    Tsk, Garzanti doesn't report "velleity" as a translation of "velleità", but you can find this word in the "English-Italian" section... :confused: according to Garzanti it is a formal word, so I guess it's not very used in spoken language... I guess we should wait for natives' suggestions... :)
  5. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    I expect that most people (including myself :eek: ) would not immediately recognize velleity if they heard it.

    I think "foolish ambition" or "vain hope/ambition" work well.
  6. grappa

    grappa Senior Member

    Central USA-Missouri
    United States English
    "aspire" forse?
  7. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Couldn't would-be fit in some contexts?

    Ha velleità artistiche

    He's a would-be artist
  8. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    Better yet: wanna-be
  9. moodywop Banned

    Southern Italy
    Italian - Italy
    Absolutely! Why didn't I think of that? Wanna-be suggests it's a hopeless/unrealistic ambition more than would-be does(or at least I think it does).

    My only reservation is that wanna-be is pretty informal/colloquial whereas velleità would also be suitable in a formal context.
  10. ElaineG

    ElaineG Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    In a formal context, I'd stick with vain/unrealizable ambition.
  11. DAH

    DAH Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Might use "would-be" in this context: He's a would-be musician because he cannot (does not have the skills, talent, intelligence, etc.) get work as a composer.
  12. cialuzzo Senior Member

    new york
    Ciao, Laura

    Meglio più tardi che mai: Google Traduttore: pretensions: which would be both vain; not serious and with no chance of realization:

    Ciao; Cialuzzo

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