Cornuto! a Horny Moniker

Cornuto in Italy literally means a man that wears the horns. While it could refer to betrayed partners from both sides, it is generally associated to the husband of an unfaithful wife. As a matter of fact, this short, apparently neutral word has no equivalent for women as “cornuta” does not exist in Italian.   

Cornuto could also be an inglorious synonym to the term bastard. Like a cornucopia filled to the top, the rather disparaging expression “cornutone” or “cornutaccio” can refer to a “bel gran cornuto” or the biggest son of a “ fill in the blank” there is; the latter often being associated with a popular expression among sports fanatic’s: “arbitro cornuto!” or bloody ref!.

Therefore a cornuto could be contemporaneously associated with a cuckold or a bastard. Sadly for the gran cornuto, the moniker also carries a negative filiation process which is summarised by the following discussion between a dad and his son.

The young boy asks his dad what contemporaneously actually means.

The dad answers: “Luca… if you ever see your mom with another man, what would you say?”

Luca : “Well dad… I guess I would think you’re a cuckold!”

Dad: “And that would contemporaneously make you a son of a bitch!”

Moreover, cornuto should not be misplaced for the Mano Cornuta (often inaccurately referred to as the “rock on” symbol), while the two terms might actually be interconnected. The Mano Cornuta is the folkloric belief behind the clenched fist with the index and pinkie fingers extended hand gesture. It is used to protect oneself from the “evil eye” or to project the “evil eye” onto someone else…

Man being a social animal tied to the cruel laws of Natural selection, it seems that from Bulgaria to Viet Nam, the term “cornuto” is truly universal. The Spanish who use the expression “cornudo” actually have a word to indicate those men who, although cheated by their partners, come to accept it as a fact of their lives.  Fortunately, the more evolved Italian language has no equivalent for the Spanish term cabrón which also means “male goat”.

For the more intellectual of you, there even exists a mathematical definition of the term cornuto:  A unit which the middle half can be below or above one third.           

Of course, in this case,  the meaning the other half takes a whole other sense and makes us ponder on this last definition: “Le corna” (Horns) are like teeth, when they show up they hurt, but afterwards they help you to bite back…”.  (Le corna sono come i denti, quando spuntano fanno male, ma poi servono per mangiare).

written by Gabriel Riel-Salvatore