Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ben trovato



ben trovato [bɛn trəˈvɑtoʊ] a.

1.) Characteristic or appropriate, if not true.
2.) Well made up or invented (Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases, Adrian Room (ed.), 2001)

Etymology: Italian, lit. "well found". The phrase is familiar from the 16th century Italian saying "se non è vero, è molto ben trovato".

"The parallel—and the competition—between preachers and professional entertainers was often remarked in our period, notably by Denis Diderot, describing Venice as a city where
in a single square you can see on one side a stage with mountebanks performing merry but monstrously indecent fares, and on the other, another stage with priests performing farces of a different complexion and shouting out: 'Take no notice of those wretches, gentlemen; the Pulcinello you are flocking to is a feeble fool; here (displaying the crucifix) is the genuine Pulcinello!'
The story that the French Jesuit preacher Emond Auger had been a bear-ward in secular life was certainly ben trovato and may even have been true" (Popular Culture in Early Modern Europe, Peter Burke, 1978).

(Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, Salvador Dali, 1944)
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Hi all, there's been some interest in the etymology of "Minotaur" after I posted about the word "minatory" the other day. "Minotaur" is from the Greek Μινώταυρ-ος (Minōtaur-us), which just a conjunction of Μίνως (Minos) and ταῦρος (tauros = bull) because the Minotaur was the son of Minos's wife and a bull (okay, it doesn't make perfect sense). "Minatory" comes from the Latin minari, which is the same root as the word "menace". So, the fact that they sound the same is just a coincidence. However, since the false etymology helps you to remember the definition of "minatory", you might say that it's...ben trovato (so proud of myself). Thanks for reading!

18 comments:

Natasha said...

That's probably the best title of a painting I've ever come across. And if I ever get the chance to give you a birthday present I'll take your subtle hint :P Brilliant choice of present by the way! xxx

Lydia K said...

Some new words for me to learn. Thanks E!

GMSoccerPicks said...

Ben trovato might be one of the first i already knew :)
The minotaurus/minatory etymology was very interesting!
Ohh and regarding Dempsey, i believe it was Coleman who signed him. I think Hodgson arrived in late December 2007

Viperman24 said...

love these words keep it up

Chris Hashemi said...

That artwork is insane, I completely love it.

JayJay said...

Brilliant - two words for the price of one. Plus I have to agree with @Natasha regarding the title of the Dali painting, absolutely brilliant.

jos xx said...

in italian the meaning "ben trovato" is generally said to someone you see after a very long time. by this phrase, one is almost implying the "where have you been all this time?"

jos xx

T Papar said...

italian always sound cool to use in phrases mixed with english

Inverse said...

Sweet. I love seeing (or hearing) a word and knowing what's it about before I read the definition :D

DEZMOND said...

I love the sound of it! Seems like something I'd here in a sf film spoken by some exotic alien race :)

Zombie said...

Why in the heck are there tigers being vomited from a fish attacking a naked woman??

Diego Sousa said...

never used this one...

Bibi said...

My French helped me with this one. "Bien trouvé". Romance languages often tend to sound very much alike. (oh the logic - useless remark)

Totally unrelated question: the picture underneath "climbing the mountain...", is that you? I know it says "photo of me" but I still want to ask about it. If it's you: awesooooome!

D4 said...

... Sounds like somebody on a sci-fi movie. Ben Trovato flew away on his jet pack, unfazed by the-- Hehehehehe

AllenTesch said...

I'm going to name my kid Ben Trovato, because he's going to come out ugly.

Shutterbug said...

LOL @ D4! It does sound like a fictional name.

shari said...

I'm proud of you, too, E. Good one!

Henry said...

@AllenTesch: Excellent usage.

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