This is a question of a language, culture, history, and etymology. I was wondering the relation of the noun pazzo has anything to do with the Pazzi conspiracy. We know that Pazzi name was wiped out from the use in Florence after this plot. However it was strange to connect their surname Pazzi and their greed for power.

Back in time, did pazzo really mean madman, or it was named after them?

  • nice and interesting question bro Commented Dec 20, 2021 at 6:32

1 Answer 1


On the De Mauro dictionary, the term “pazzo” is dated 1280.

There is an example in Boccaccio reported by the “Grande dizionario della lingua italiana”:

Boccaccio, VIII-2-27: Per questo, creden­dosi lui esser pazzo, il vollero uccidere.

The etymology of pazzo is uncertain, though.

So no, that's just a coincidence. The family's name apparently comes from a member of it, Pazzo di Ranieri, who distinguished himself in the siege of Jerusalem during the first crusade.

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    Just to add a bit of paywalled info, Zingarelli dictionary gives, as etymology and date, “[ lat. pătiens, nom., ‘paziente’ (in senso medico) (?) ☼ 1268 ]”; hence, according to this (uncertain, as the ? says) explanation, it would be a cognate of patient (= someone receiving cures).
    – DaG
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 9:28
  • Oppure: Pazzo: Probabilmente participio passato tronco del lat. volg. *pactiare ‘comprimere, sbattere’, der. del lat. pactum ‘compresso’, nel senso di ‘che ha avuto un colpo, un'ammaccatura alla testa’ •sec. XIII.
    – Hachi
    Commented Nov 17, 2021 at 9:23
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    Interesting, @Hachi! Where this piece of information comes from?
    – Charo
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 12:03
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    @Hachi Unfortunately Latin pāctum < pangere doesn't mean "compressed" but "planted, fixed, settled"; and pactum < pacīscī "agreed upon; betrothed", so it's unlikely that *pactiāre could mean "compress, beat in", and besides there doesn't seem to be any evidence for that verb's existence or meaning. Also, I know of no such thing as a 'participio passato tronco', sounds like this was invented ad-hoc as well.—There does exist pattume "rubbish", but the more obvious source of this is battere.— compingere, compāctum "to press in or together", with the prefix dropped, is also possible. Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 22:51

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