[ fee-as-koh or especially for 2, -ah-skoh ]SEE DEFINITION OF fiasco
Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Better get a fiasco of Chianti ready—the old kind you have in the cellar.

This fiasco, due, I am told, to the jealous interference of the P.-L.

The Marchese lunched here alone with us to-day, and it was a fiasco.

Her first real failure, a fiasco—she really deserved a better fate.

After that fiasco in Ireland you must go somewhere, for a time at least, out of the way.

Her great grandmother was a Fiasco, and her great great grandmother a Disgrazia.

"Not the slightest fear of a fiasco this time," says Potts, comfortably.

Leslie decided that they should bear the blame for the fiasco.

After that fiasco at the Michaels ranch, he'd had to get a new aide.

I have never seen a correct history of this fiasco in print.


1855, theater slang for "a failure," by 1862 acquired the general sense of any dismal flop, on or off the stage. Via French phrase fiare fiasco "turn out a failure" (19c.), from Italian far fiasco "suffer a complete breakdown in performance," literally "make a bottle," from fiasco "bottle," from Late Latin flasco, flasconem (see flask).

The reason for all this is utterly obscure today, but "the usual range of fanciful theories has been advanced" [Ayto]. Weekley finds it utterly mysterious and compares French ramasser un pelle "to come a cropper (in bicycling), literally to pick up a shovel." OED makes nebulous reference to "alleged incidents in Italian theatrical history." Klein suggests Venetian glass-crafters tossing aside imperfect pieces to be made later into common flasks. But according to an Italian dictionary, fare il fiasco used to mean "to play a game so that the one that loses will pay the fiasco," in other words, he will buy the next bottle (of wine). That plausibly connects the word with the notion of "a costly mistake."


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.