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Do women tend to use the word 'adorabile' more often than men do?

And also, should men rather avoid using this word when describing something they liked, as, for example, 'queste scarpe sono davvero adorabili'.

I hope this question doesn't sound too sexist, though to an extent it is, of course, because, as far as I know, but I could be incorrect, I have heard such a word used like in the example above only by male gays. Nontheless, I wouldn't exclude differences in regional usages.

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    I would suggest, for a question like this, a new tag “sociolinguistics”, since it regards the way words or other linguistic elements are used differently according to gender, class, geography etc. Any opinion? – DaG Jan 18 '14 at 15:25
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    @DaG, +1, agreed! – Kyriakos Kyritsis Jan 18 '14 at 15:28
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    Diastratic variations according to sex/gender are well known in linguistics: men and women speak differently. For example women use more frequently adjectives as cute, lovely, sweet, etc. It seems reasonable to me to assume that "adorable" is one of those adjectives - but I ignore whether or not this has ever been object of a specific sociolinguistic study in Italian. – user193 Jan 18 '14 at 17:19
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    FWIW, I'm quite sure I've seen in several films a heavy usage of adjectives like this by stereotypical gay characters to remark such a characterization. – Matteo Italia Jan 20 '14 at 23:48
  • This seems for appropriate for the skeptics SE... – Bakuriu Jan 21 '14 at 12:00
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It is a fact that in the Italian language the verb "adorare" is used mainly when referring to God, or a deity in general. With the same meaning it can be used when referring to a person of the opposite sex, used as an equivalent of "to love" with an hyperbolic meaning (like "I love my wife like if she was a goddess" = "I adore my wife", in Italian "amo mia moglie come una dea" = "adoro mia moglie").

Any other way of using the verb is uncommon, and therefore using it while speaking conveys the message that the speaker is either a very cultivated person or tries to talk with refined expressions which the speaker learned from some source.

As Matteo Italia said, the verb is widely used for stereotypical male homosexual fictional characters, and trying to talk imitating those will convey the message that you want to be identified as a gay person.

In particular referring to some common clothing with the verb "adorare", which gives a divine meaning to the object, explains the importance the speaker gives to clothing, which is culturally more common for Italian females than for Italian males.

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  • In Italian there is no verb “to adore”! :-) Even if you write in English, if you are discussing Italian words, please mention them in Italian. – DaG Jan 31 '14 at 13:01
  • as you prefer, i just find fatiguing switching from one language to the other in the middle of the sentence :D – Federico Bonelli Jan 31 '14 at 13:54
  • Thanks! However, it is not just a preference of mine. If we are discussing a word, we should mention it explicitly. Just think the reverse: suppose you want to write in Italian about the English verb “to get”, or about the differences among “to make” and “to do”. How would you say it? There is simply not a 1-to-1 correspondence between words of different languages. – DaG Jan 31 '14 at 14:12
  • I guess that's a really good point, using translations transparently implies that they are perfect translations, while they're not. – Federico Bonelli Jan 31 '14 at 14:14
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The adjective adorabile in Italian is used only to refer to something really nice or lovely, but, for what concerns my experience, in nowadays language the adjective hasn't any reference to God, while the verb adorare can in fact be used for God in the sense of venerare (to worship) AND in the sense of piacere (to adore)for material things.

In answer to your question, I think adorabile is used almost only by women, and no exceptions has come to my mind. Men tend to use other expressions, like fantastico, carino, perfetto, forte, depending on the context. I notice that these expressions are less strong than adorabile. For instance, a woman might say '' questa macchina è adorabile! '' whereas a man just can't say it. '' Questa macchina è forte!'' would be a good alternative.

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  • actually, at least for Catholics, adorare and venerare are quite different :-) (but it is still true that in the common language adorare is used in a milder sense) – mau Feb 3 '14 at 8:51
  • @mau You're right. I just wanted to make clear the general meaning; it seems to me that adorare in the religious context is used for God only and venerare for the saints. – user413 Feb 6 '14 at 21:45

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