Sicilian words you should know before to visit Sicily
There are some Sicilian words that have a deeper meaning than the common one. A real way of living lies in these Sicilian words and it is right to know that before to visit Sicily.
COMPÀ/CUMPÀ – ‘MPARE/ ‘MBARE
This term is used to express a lot of meanings, first of all the word “brother”: you can use that in a generic and informal way – “mbare” – to say hello to a friend or to quickly make friends with a stranger -“cumpà!”.
The word mbare is the abbreviation of the word compare. Originally, it expressed the person that sponsored a child’s baptism, the godfather, but then it took a more popular acceptation, becoming a synonym of something more than familiar.
Every day Sicilian people say million of sentences using the words compà/cumpà/ mpare/ mbare. Sometimes they say that unconsciously – «minchia mbare» (notice the combo MINCHIA + MBARE), «ue compà», «comu si mpare» – they are used to reaffirm the friendship between 2 people, mutually, as an introduction to any other conversation.
This is probably the first – and the last – word you will hear in Sicily. “Minchia” is a keyword of the Sicilian language. People use that very frequently so it is important to know the meaning of it. Literally, it represents the male sexual organ, but it is not a swear word. In fact, it has many significances, even depending on the way of saying it. “Minchia” takes the place of many words and so it can indicate wonder, approval, joy, irritation, bother, fear, disgust, surprise and so on! Sometimes you can hear the short form “Miiiiii” too.
Also, there are some euphemistic forms, like mìzzica and milla that are used in contexts that need to delete the sexual allusion, like in more formal conversations.
The famous writer Andrea Camilleri in his novels uses this term very often. In fact the Inspector Montalbano says “Minchia!” to highlight his feelings.
This is, among the Sicilian words, the one that represents the lifestyle of the island: “futtitinni” means to take things very easy.
When you will be worried about something there will always be somebody that will tell you “futtitinni”. It is an advice: to live light-heartedly, to only care about the very important things and to eliminate the ones that are not worth to get mad for. Usually, Sicilian people use that in the short sentence “Futtitinni, pensa a saluti!”, that means “Futtitinni, take care of your health!”.
You can easily translate “camurria” with the word “bother”. Sicilian people use this word both referring to things and people. A typical example of cammurria are wifes, when they don’t stop talking. Every Sicilian husband say “camurria” to his wife!