Words, Words, Words: Sfingica

Word-of-the-day is becoming a bit too ambitious, so I'm thinking word-of-the-week is a little more realistic.

This one was overheard at work last week: Sfingica. I love this word; I love how it feels to say it. (I take particular delight in saying s+consonant words in Italian, but this one has an especially nice ring to it.)

It means "like a sphinx, or pertaining to a sphinx" (la sfinge). In particular, it is used to describe someone with no facial expression, who shows no emotion or personality. Impassive, vapid, dull.

Quella tipa è così sfingica, probabilmente non ha neanche il cuore!

Or, to put it much more poetically, in the words of Alfred de Musset*:

"She would drink the blood of her children from the skull of her lover and not feel so much as a stomach ache."

*The authenticity of this quote is not to be trusted. It is, however, from one of the best films ever.

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