Wed Jul 17 21:48:32 UTC 2002

        The OED defines "sprezzatura" as ease of manner, studied carelessness; the appearance of acting or being done without effort.  I found this reassuring, because that was what I thought the word meant.  The USA TODAY interpretation is evidently based on a misreading of this web page:


John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: Bapopik at AOL.COM [mailto:Bapopik at AOL.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2002 5:28 PM
Subject: Sprezzatura; B-to-B; OK Sign; Ukraine food

SPREZZATURA--From USA TODAY international, 17 July 2002, pg. 7B, col. 3:
   While reading _The New York TImes_ a couple of Sundays ago, I came upon a word I'd never seen before.  Sprezzatura.  I asked my partner, Jack, if he knew what it meant.  He didn't, and he reads books with hard covers.  I looked in the dictionary.  (THE dictionary?--ed.)  It wasn't there, so I went online, typed in the word, hit "search" and up it popped.
   You probably already know this, but it's from the Italian High Renaissance and describes the attributes of a man who is both a graceful performer and a superficial manipulator.  Because the word was used to describe two young men clawing their way up the ladder of New York society on the arm of Martha Stweart, it was the perfect fit.

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