Sprezzatura definition

Cool, as of 1528

Sprezzatura [sprettsaˈtuːra] is an Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione‘s The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as “a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it”. It is the ability of the courtier to display “an easy facility in accomplishing difficult actions which hides the conscious effort that went into them”.

Sprezzatura has also been described “as a form of defensive irony: the ability to disguise what one really desires, feels, thinks, and means or intends behind a mask of apparent reticence and nonchalance”. (Wikipedia)

The word has entered the English language; the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “studied carelessness”.

It would be the Italians who would come up with something like this and it would be in Oxford that they would make it sound so lame… Why couldn’t they just say cool?

I think swans have a significant amount of sprezzatura.

Sprezzatura is my excuse for not publishing the results of how I got on with the plans I set in September. It is also one of the great things I learnt from Taleb’s The Bed of Procrustes. I recommend it.

P.S. An existential question for WordPress bloggers. Why WordPress and not Instagram or Facebook? Why not Medium?


10 thoughts on “Cool, as of 1528”

  1. Re “An existential question for WordPress bloggers. Why WordPress and not Instagram or Facebook?” Hello? WordPress is a blog hosting service. Facebook and Instagram are narcissism sharing sites. It is that simple. (It takes more effort to post on WordPress, which keeps the riff-raff out. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think, however, Mr. Ruis has pointed out something essential to this question, which maybe you have to ask yourself, “would you post the same level of philosophic or artistic content on facebook or instagram which seem more temporal by comparison to wordpress, and allow you less space as sites with arguably less customization?”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You see I would have no problem doing that – at least in theory. The only issue is that I don’t think it will be well-received. I was new to the WordPress community and so it gave me a fresh start. On Facebook, I am followed by people who have known me since I was 6. I don’t think they have an interest in my philosophising. It’s all engagements, babies, etc. Some people do post philosophical or business related things (as in thoughtful things, not advertising), but it seems that their friends expect it. Some of it falls flat on its face.

        At the same time, I wonder if there is more engagement on Facebook or maybe Instagram.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. By asking, “is there more audience participation on facebook,” and you qualify that question with the if statement that the audience is more temporal and interested in the trivial versus the cerebral, then you’d be right.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool word (grin). Everything sounds better in Italian. I’d say there would be an image of “The Fonz” next to sprezzatura.

    WordPress: the wordsmith’s social site.
    Fadebook: grandma’s and the egotist’s social site.
    Twitter: The spastic’s and thumb-muscled social site.
    Instagram: The vacuous and flighty social site.
    Snapchat: The millennial’s social site.
    Google+ and Blogger: The forgotten social sites.
    Reddit: The techno-oppressor’s social site.
    Ello, Path, Pintrest, About, etc. – The wanna-be social sites.

    Why here? Actually, it’s why here /first/? If you’re trying to create a readership — on social anything — one starts here but share’s everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sprezzatura….. I felt like it has two meanings – related. making things look easy (although a lot of effort wasps behind it) and the ability to disguise what one really desires/thinks. food for thought.

    Medium has a great UI. but many posts there seem to be catered to getting the claps (Medium’s version of like) and making it to a curated front page – “curated” by certain people and machine learning.

    WordPress has a more old school, zen interface. flexibility of presentation. Independence.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. WordPress, to me, is the closest I’ll get to wall space in an art gallery–my efforts in a public space. Of course, whether some one will buy it is another matter. But they do let me write my own catalog notes there. Another fantasy is that it’s the op-ed page of a legacy publication, where as a bonus they let me do my own illustration’
    Wordpress also copies my posts to tumblr and facebook where they are even more ignored. Facebook I use to observe pix of grand kids and rants of distant friends, nothing more, because to reach out beyond peeps I already know is expensive there. But I might try Instagram just for fun, if it’s free that is.


    1. That’s an interesting take on it. I think Insta isn’t all that distinct from Facebook. I also think that the internet has kind of moved to social networks. Then again you could argue that there is a strong social network element to WordPress. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


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