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Italian Word of the Week GIUSTO

italicsBy Daniela Gross

One word, many meanings. It is not easy to translate the term “giusto”. You could use “just, exact, right, correct, fair, equitable, righteous” and so on. But only the context can indicate the right significance (better, the proper nuance) and then the appropriate translation. In fact, the adjective “giusto” can be attributed to a person, a price, a wage, a judgment, a prize and also to the hour. If you like the music maybe you know it, because the expression “tempo giusto” (“right time” or “exact time”, the critics are still debating) is recurrent. And if you are interested in economics, you’re surely updated on the discussions about the relations between market and values.

The Italian Jews associate the word “giusto”, written with the capital letter, mainly to the Righteous Among the Nations (we translate it as “Giusto fra le nazioni), the honor bestowed from Yad Vashem to non-Jews who during the Shoah risked their lives to save Jews from the persecutions of Nazis and Fascists. Less than one year ago that title was conferred to Gino Bartali, champion road cyclist, winner of the Giro d’Italia multi-stage race three times and twice of the Tour de France. Bartali, one the most popular athletes of his time, had been a courier for the Resistance and played an important role in the rescue of Jews.
After the war he never spoke of his underground work. Hence many of his courageous endeavors remain unknown but finally the story came to the public opinion thanks to Pagine Ebraiche (as you can read in this release). Maybe the champion never talked about that because he felt that justice is a fundamental value from which we, as human beings, should never be less. And here we come back to the word of the week. The etymology of “giusto” is the Latin word (ius, iuris) that indicates the justice: if you recall it every translation becomes easier.