Thursday, 20 August 2020


Via the always engrossing Futility Closet—which has, in addition to its regular podcast, returned to blogging with a fervour after a hiatus, we learn a Bolognese term that refers to retired gentlemen who pass time at roadworks and other construction sites supervising and disbursing advise to the crew.
The word meaning “little man,” it has picked up use around Italy since a 2005 book employed the term and not just in the one region and often with the female equivalent żdåura, an umarell’s wife. While the subject of gentle derision, developers and municipalities often are willing to pay a small stipend in exchange for their scrutiny and quality-control.