po·​co·​cu·​ran·​te ˈpō-kō-kyu̇-ˈran-tē How to pronounce pococurante (audio)
pococurantism noun

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The French writer Voltaire carefully named his characters in Candide (1759) to create allegories. He appended the prefix pan-, meaning "all," to "glōssa," the Greek word for "tongue," to name his optimistic tutor "Pangloss," a sobriquet suggesting glibness and talkativeness. Then there is the apathetic Venetian Senator Pococurante, whose name appropriately means "caring little" in Italian. Voltaire's characters did not go unnoticed by later writers. Laurence Sterne used "Pococurante" in part six of Tristram Shandy, published three years after Candide, to mean "a careless person," and Irish poet Thomas Moore first employed the word as an adjective when he described Dublin as a poco-curante place in his memoirs of 1815.

Examples of pococurante in a Sentence

she has put up a strangely pococurante front throughout this whole ordeal

Word History


Italian poco curante caring little

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pococurante was in 1815


Dictionary Entries Near pococurante

Cite this Entry

“Pococurante.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pococurante. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

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