I am reading an essay on Pinocchio that contains the following sentence. I can not find a meaning for boutade.

"That Pinocchio is the literary text that more than any other has been read by Italians in the twentieth century must make one wary about dismissing Prezollini's judgement as a mere boutade.

  • 1
    I think this is not Italian, but English or French.
    – Charo
    Feb 13, 2016 at 12:41
  • 3
    Thus probably this question shouldn't be asked at this site, but at english.stackexchange.com or at french.stackexchange.com.
    – Charo
    Feb 13, 2016 at 12:46
  • Well, since it was in a book about Pinocchio, and a translation thereof, it never occurred to me that it was not Italian! That was stupid of me, I guess, but would explain why I could not find a dictionary entry for it. I wonder, however, if there are commonly used foreign words used in Italian? I know that in English, we have a lot of them!
    – Msfolly
    Feb 13, 2016 at 14:15
  • 1
    By the way, you can also find the word boutade in most good Italian dictionaries. Feb 14, 2016 at 10:28
  • 1
    Indeed, the fact that boutade is or isn't in Italian dictionaries isn't really relevant, since it is a French word used in an English text, and that is why the question is off-topic here.
    – DaG
    Feb 15, 2016 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Boutade is the same as caprice or whim. The meaning of the quoted sentence, therefore, is that Prezzolini's idea - that Pinocchio isn't just a children's book, but it's the key for a deeper understanding of Italy - should be taken seriously and shouldn't be considered a mot d'esprit, a mere witticism.

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