The Name Game: “Il Famoso…”

When my husband was young (and probably still today), Italians played a verbal game in which you made up a name for a fictional somebody of a particular nation. The name had to sound authentic to the nationality chosen, and, of course, it had to be funny.

For example:

Il famoso tuffatore giapponese: Sezoki Maspinto.

The famous Japanese high diver: [Se so chi m’ha spinto] – If I know [knew] who pushed me!

La famosa prostituta greca: Mika Teladogratis.

The famous Greek prostitute: I’m certainly not going to give it to you free! (Mica = not a chance, no way.)

La famosa prostituta del Far West: Calatemi Jeans.

The famous prostitute of the [American] West: Take down my jeans. (A pun on Calamity Jane.)

Il famoso motociclista giapponese: Tofuzo Lamoto.

The famous Japanese motorcyclist: T’ho fuso la moto – I melted your motorcycle [engine].

Il famoso investigatore rumeno: Ora Lipescu.

The famous Rumanian investigator: Now I’ll catch them (li pesco – literally "I’ll fish them").

La famosa prostituta russa: Vagina Seminova.

The famous Russian prostitute: Semi-New Vagina.

Il famoso tuffatore arabo: Momeyet.

The famous Arab diver: Mo’ me getto – (in Roman dialect) – Now I’ll throw myself [in].

Il famoso spedizioniere cinese: C’hon Furgon Cin.

The famous Chinese courier: C’ho un furgoncino = I have a little van!

Got one to add? Aggiungete i vostri!


  1. You translate. IGH!

    Il famoso giornalaio cinese: Cion Kiosko.
    La cuoca russa: Galina Cocimilova.
    La pasticcera: Galina Sbatilova.
    Il portiere rumeno: Saracinescu.
    Il ministro delle poste USA: Frank O’Boll.
    Sua moglie Cartoline.

    This is in Milanese: Korean diver: Kim Atra Giò (Chi m’ha tràa giò, who pulled me down). His trainer: Soon Sta Mi (Sunt stàa mì: i was me).

    I used to know many, many more, now I forgot them.

  2. One of the most famous one… the great goalkeeper from Romania: Saracinescu (saracinesca = roll-up shutter)
    I have a vague memory about a little book being offered free with a superalcolic beverage bottle with a long list of them… but is a very vague one, maybe i’m even wrong.

  3. Il nuotatore tedesco: Otto Vask (sounds like: otto vasche, eight laps)
    Il campione di salto in lungo cinese: Chin Chan Pai (sounds like: c’inciampai, I tripped on it)

    Reminds me of an anecdote, about a Scottish football commentator, reporting live on a Scotland-Romania game. You can hear him in the off, hurriedly asking his colleague “who’s Romania’s number 9?” and then loud and clear in the mike: “And Fakshudanu got the ball!!!”

  4. Gay Italiano: Gustavo La Mazza.
    Lo so che il nome dovrebbe essere straniero, ma questo era troppo divertente.

  5. La più famosa danzatrice russa: Ciolanka Sbilenka!

    The famous russian dancer: I have a lopsided haunch! (ciò [=ho] l’anca sbilenca!)

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