315. Pico bello

splendid, outstanding [adjective] [‘pie-koo-bel-loo’]

And who said the Dutch language doesn’t have frivolities? Even Italian frivolities… 😉

"Pico bello" is used to express some state of excellence. It’s very positive and its use is mostly in speech. Sometimes you may also see "picobello."

– "Antoinette ziet er iedere dag picobello uit, vind je ook niet?"
("Antoinette looks sharp every day, don’t you think (too)?" Note that "ziet er…uit" comes from "eruit zien", a typical Dutch construction using (the infamous) "er" in combination with the preposition "uit" and the verb "zien".)

– "Hoe zie ik eruit? – Pico bello, schat."
("How do I look? – Very sharp, dear.")

– "De catering op het feestje gisteren was pico bello verzorgd."
("The catering at yesterday’s party was outstanding." Lit.: "…outstandingly taken care off.")

– "Jouw presentatie voor de raad van bestuur was pico bello, niemand had vragen na afloop."
("Your presentation for the board of directors was splendid, nobody had questions afterwards.")

9 thoughts on “315. Pico bello

  1. My Spanish dictionary says that “pico” can mean “a bit”. So with “bello” being “beautiful/nice” in Italian, we now have that “pico bello” means “a bit beautiful/nice” 🙂
    Which definitely is not splendid or outstanding! 🙂

  2. Picosecond (10e-9 sec): very very short time,right? So pico means a biiit…
    uhm… but sometimes a specific combination of language has quite a different nuance than the sum of their literal explanation.
    For instance, when we use “quite a bit”, it means “a lot, quite many”. So here if I would love to agree with Guru but not with Sander, my “a bit” == “many” in when used after a “quite”, shall give some more salt in this lovely discussion.
    Shuang van Delft

  3. ‘Picobello’ is a low German borrowing, like ‘piekfijn’ (from ‘pikfein’/‘piekfein’) and is in German written as one word.
    The ‘pic’/‘pik’ bit is derived from ‘pük’ which is related to the Dutch word ‘puik’ which is derived from ‘puycken’ which we today would spell ‘puiken’ which means ‘to pick out with care’. Which reminds me a of the song ‘Het mooie oude ambacht’ by Drs P, but let’s get back on topic. ‘Puik’ was originally used as a quality indicator for goods like leather, thus meaning ‘best’.
    ‘Bello’ is probably just Italian for beautiful, and the reason behind the ‘o’ in ‘pico’, to give that special faux Italian ring to it.
    Although it isn’t correct Italian, I have seen ‘picobello’ in Italian text once or twice. It also appears to be a somewhat popular name for pizzerias across Europe.

  4. Never too late (I’m Italian). The Italian “Poco bello” translates into “a little pretty”. There are no entries in the Italian dictionary that begins with ‘pico’ except truly scientific words (incidentally, it means a factor 10e-12 rather than 10e-9, so it’s a biiiiiiiiiiiit of something – but finds no common use in ordinary language). Other than that, pizzerias and restaurants sporting non-existent Italian-sounding names are rife worldwide. Most annoying is when also the menus are badly misspelled, and then your foreign friends try to boast that they’ve eaten a gorgeous meal that an Italian would never recognise out of his ears. However, in fairness, in Italy you may also happen eat miserably in the face of a correct spelling.

  5. I confirm that Picobello isn’t Italian and all my friends have to laugh when they learn that it’s considered a typical Italian expression in the NL. Pretty much like “tuttifrutti”.

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