pococurante

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DEFINITION

adjective
: indifferent, nonchalant.

EXAMPLES
1. Even the most pococurante museum-goers are bound to be moved by the photos in the new exhibit.
2. “[Anonymous restaurant reviewers] lumbered in as any other diner would, assessing astutely yet nonchalantly the performance of the coat-check girl, the host, the bringers of water, and the offerings of wine; the service was scrutinized while maintaining an entirely pococurante front.” — From an article by Bethany Jean Clement in The Stranger, September 5-11, 2012.

DID YOU KNOW?
The French writer Voltaire carefully named his characters in Candide (1759) to create allegories. He appended the prefix “pan-,” meaning “all,” to “glōssa,” the Greek word for “tongue,” to name his optimistic tutor “Pangloss,” a sobriquet suggesting glibness and talkativeness. Then there is the apathetic Venetian Senator Pococurante, whose name appropriately means “caring little” in Italian. Voltaire’s characters did not go unnoticed by later writers. Laurence Sterne used “Pococurante” in part six of Tristram Shandy, published three years after Candide, to mean “a careless person,” and Irish poet Thomas Moore first employed the word as an adjective when he described Dublin as a poco-curante place in his memoirs of 1815.

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