This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sunday Rest: burletta. Word Not To Use Today.

Burletta is a perfectly respectable word in Italian, but in English it sounds far too much like a fat lady in a tight corset.

It actually means a brief comic opera, but who's going to know that?

Luckily the word was largely put out of its misery in 1843 by the British parliament. They repealed the Law which said that only the Covent Garden and Drury Lane Theatres could put on 'legitimate drama', so after that people no longer had to use the description burletta as a cover for the plays they were staging.

I'm sorry to say, though, that in the USA the term burletta is still occasionally used instead of the satisfyingly crisp burlesque.

Mind you, those performances might very well involve very fat ladies in very tight corsets. 

So fair enough.

Word Not To Use Today: burletta. This word is Italian for little joke.

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