In "Friends", Joey says a couple of times "va fa Napoli". I know now that it's a softer version of you-know-what, but how soft/rude is it?

Can it be used in the public? On a radio/TV? In a children show? Can I say it to a colleague as a joke?

A side question: is this expression widely understood at all?

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    Is something he says in the original? Or in the dubbed version? Or both? – DaG Feb 6 at 12:50
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    In the original. – Russo Turisto Feb 6 at 12:51
  • You can find the scene here – abarisone Feb 6 at 12:52
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    To address the side question: this is the first time I hear about this particular expression, but it is immediately understandable, and there are scores of variants of vaffanculo, some probably invented on the spot: vaffallovo, vaffambene, vaffambagno and so on. – DaG Feb 6 at 15:08
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    In Italy it would be understood but it doesn't exist in Italy, it's just obvious what the reference is but as an Italian in Italy I only ever heard it from Rachel in Friends. – SantiBailors Feb 9 at 21:52
up vote 9 down vote accepted

"Va fa Napoli" is not an Italian reference but a phrase that sounds like it and it sounds like vaffan... that is as rude as fu_k off.

If you say it in Italy we can understand what you mean but is quite ridiculous because it doesn't mean anything, it's an American stereotype if you prefer.

First time that I saw Friends in original version I laughed for it.

So if you use it to speak with other American people it could be rude because no one knows what it means, if you use it with Italians it's just ridiculous and meaningless.

According to Urban Dictionary, "va fa Napoli" is a more polite way of saying vaff****lo.

It's a more 'polite' way of saying vafanculo, the Italian obscenity meaning "go do it in your ass". Vafanapoli means literally "go to Naples", with the implication being that everyone in Naples does it in the ass.

It's a bit more polite way of saying you-know-what, similar to go to hell.

Obviously it can be used in an informal and colloquial context and, as the majority of imprecations, should be avoided in formal and public situations.

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    I know what it means :) I'm asking how rude this "more polite" version is. – Russo Turisto Feb 6 at 12:52
  • @RussoTuristo Just edited – abarisone Feb 6 at 12:53
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    @RussoTuristo Be warned that how "rude" or "polite" is depends on the familiarity of the audience. I personally never heard of it, and my reaction would be mostly confused. If you told me va' remengo, on the other hand... – Denis Nardin Feb 6 at 14:24
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    @Russo Turisto / Yes, alternative versions are often used to sound less vulgar. Like vaffan’ brodo for your instance. Actually you may coin new ones, the “vaffan’” is the real term. – Gio Feb 6 at 17:45
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    It's not more polite, it's less impolite. It makes a huge difference whether you say it impersonally vs. to someone. With Italians, don't direct it to people in situations where you don't intend to insult. The full meaning of the expression it is derived from, vaffanculo, is very specific and designed to be as insulting as possible, and any variation of it will still carry a good amount of that. – SantiBailors Feb 9 at 21:41

Means "Go to Naples!" literally. There is another saying; "See Naples and die." Which means roughly that once you have seen Naples, you have seen everything; nothing else you see will ever measure up to that. However, If you consider BOTH of these sayings together, saying "va fa Napoli" to someone is saying "drop dead!" That more accurately sums up its real meaning and its use.

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    «Means "Go to Naples!" literally»: Actually it doesn't. – DaG Sep 10 at 21:40

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