Word of the Day: Fervore

I wonder how many people are familiar with the Italian word fervore ( fair-voh-reh), easily recognizable as the English “fervor.”

 

Fervore comes from the Latin fervor-fervoris, which means heat. The old Latin verb from which is derived,  fervere, still exists in Italian. 

 

Fervore is a beautiful word, that smells of old books and  eternal ideals. It’s the word we would use to describe what led, say, Garibaldi, to guide I Mille to the conquest of the Peninsula or, more prosaically, what makes Italians passionately follow the national soccer team every time the world cup is on. 

 

It is also very often associated with love and all that comes with it, including physical attraction. Indeed, you can say, “la ama con fervore,” and give two pretty different interpretation to the sentence. Our can love a romantic partner “con fervore” when they are head over heels with them, but also when their physical attraction for  them is uncontainable, if you know what I mean. 

 

Fervore can also show when something is at its climax: nel fervore del gioco (at the height of the  game),  nel fervore della lotta (at the height of the fight),  nel fervore della disputa (at the height of the dispute), but these are all higher register expressions you wouldn’t use at the supermarket, so keep in your pocket and use them when you want to impress someone!

 

Fervore has an adjective, fervoroso, which means “filled with  fervor.” A prayer can be  fervorosa, when it is particularly heartfelt, and so are the soccer fans we mentioned before: they are tifosi fervorosi. 

 

Today, fervore is what we feel when we talk about our country, of which we are really proud in spite of all that’s happening. More than anything, we love it with fervor,  la amiamo con fervore: and right now, it is very important to show it to the  world!

Ha cantato quell’aria dell’Aida con enorme fervore.

He sang that aria from the  Aida with great fervor. 

Secondo me si piacciono. Si sono baciati con molto fervore!

I think they like each other: they kissed with fervor.

Stai attento! Troppo fervore può farti prendere decisioni sbagliate. 

Be careful: too much fervor may lead you to take wrong decisions. 

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