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I would like to understand what that part, a farfalla, might mean in reference to a very modest man, a government official, rather old (a widower, but still young enough to marry anew). I know that farfalla might refer to someone who is not serious in their ways, but here this is simply not the case. It might be a name for a style of hair-cut, but I did not find anything on Google Images that might refer to this case. Here it goes (Pirandello, Il fu Mattia Pascal):

Omino lindo, aggiustato, dagli occhietti ceruli mansueti, credo che s'incipriasse e avesse anche la debolezza di passarsi un po' di rossetto, appena appena, un velo, su le guance: certo si compiaceva d'aver conservato fino alla sua età i capelli, che si pettinava con grandissima cura, a farfalla, e si rassettava continuamente con le mani.

Thank you very much!

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    I don't know ... it intuitively seems like a symmetrical haircut... – Riccardo De Contardi Jan 7 '17 at 22:21
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    I read the novel several years ago (1978, I believe) and I don't think I noticed the passage. I agree with Riccardo that this should be some symmetrical haircut, possibly with locks descending on the sides of the forehead. – egreg Jan 7 '17 at 23:56
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    It could be something like this: books.google.es/…. – Charo Jan 8 '17 at 10:43
  • I agree with the symmetric hairdo, but, just to be a nitpicker, let me note that here Pirandello describes how the character pettinava, that is, combed his hair, not how he cut it (of course, if it were not cut symmetrically, it would be difficult to comb it so). – DaG Jan 8 '17 at 10:55
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    The meaning, as already said, seems like a symmetrical haircut but more specifically a haircut where the hair are parted in the middle. Like this. Farfalla means butterfly and in this example the hair center parting seems the body of a butterfly while the two hair parts are the wings – dym Jan 31 '17 at 11:36
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The meaning, as already said, seems like a symmetrical haircut but more specifically an haircut where the hair are parted in the middle.

Like this

Farfalla means butterfly and in this example the hair center parting seems the body of a butterfly while the two hair parts are the wings

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    This is an opinion, and an already formulated one at that (as dym himself remarks), not a sourced answer. – DaG Feb 2 '17 at 0:46
  • @DaG Well, language is such a matter that opinions shared by many nearly become a truth… :) My problem was, in Russian “a butterfly hair-do” couldn't make sense under any condition whatsoever, so I just was puzzled… So, the major part of the mystery solved… As to the actual type of hair-do, the character did not have a lot of choice, I presume. – Evgeniy Feb 2 '17 at 10:43

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