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Word of the Day: Pococurante

Pococurante

ˌpoʊkoʊˌkjəˈrɑn(t)i

NOUN

  • An indifferent or unconcerned person.

ADJECTIVE

  • Indifferent or unconcerned.

  • EXAMPLE SENTENCES

  • “There are a few pococurante board members, but most of the parents at this school are very involved.” 

WORD ORIGIN

Italian, mid-18th century

WHY THIS WORD?

“Pococurante” is a French loanword coined by Enlightenment philosopher and author Voltaire, who joined the Italian words “poco” (“little”) and “curante” (“caring”). In the 1759 satirical novel “Candide, or Optimism,” Voltaire introduced the character of Signor Pococurante, a Venetian nobleman who cares nothing about great works of art. Thanks to the popularity of the book, the character became representative of indifference to the things others find important. A few short years after “Candide” was published, “pococurante” entered English as a noun for an indifferent or apathetic person, and within 50 years, the term had become an adjective describing apathetic indifference.

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