It’s Luna here with a new episode in our series Cosa Dici?!
Today we’re looking at the history of one of my favorite words; one that has actually changed meaning over time. The word is AGIDA! Now you may have heard this word pronounced a couple of ways, AGITA, or the way I pronounce it, AGIDA. It only makes the word more interesting to see the various spellings, pronunciations, and meanings that it has.
The word was first popularized here in the States in the 1980s. Its usage was at first limited to the NYC area, but now it’s pretty widespread. You might even hear it used in your favorite TV show!
So, what does this word mean?
AGIDA signifies a general feeling of uneasiness, discomfort, or anxiety. Although it sounds like a shortened version of the English word agitation, it actually comes from an equivalent to the Standard Italian word for “acid”, acido.
When it comes to the linguistic history of AGIDA, linguists are still speculating the precise origin of the word. What we can say for certain is that it most likely comes from a regional equivalent of this Standard Italian word, acido. For example, a possible origin of the word could be Sicilian, which has clear differences in spelling and pronunciation.
Interestingly, in Standard Italian, acido, is used to refer to indigestion or heartburn, which is a meaning that AGIDA still retains for some people today.
The origin of the word is still a bit murky, but what’s clear is that in the United States, we’ve not only changed the pronunciation, but also the meaning. We’ve gone from this physical feeling of indigestion to a more figurative feeling of discomfort, and you can see how they’re still a bit connected.
What does the word mean for you?
Well, there you have it, another lesson in Italian American!
Hopefully. now when you hear the word AGIDA, you won’t have any AGIDA about what it means!