Fiasco
Anna Jayne
I am wondering about the origin of the word "fiasco." As we use it in modern English, it means a debacle or theatrical flop. However, the word in Italian means "flask or bottle". So how did we get from "bottle" to "disaster"? Any help would certainly be appreciated.
AdSumADS
It seems that you're looking for something with explanatory force, but all I've been able to find is that the English, "flask," is related; "fiasco" (per se) had been adopted into English meaning the same thing as in Italian, a long-necked, straw-covered wine bottle; it was simulatneously taken into French in the phrase "faire fiasco" (make a fiasco) which was an idiom for a total failure (and why the French did this is the mystery); it then came into English again with the modern sense borrowed from French and displacing the semantics of the earlier adoption.

So, why did the French do this? I've found some theories. One class of theories is that the idiom as a whole was borrowed from the Italian, "fare fiasco" (to make a fiasco), making the question more like why the Italians did it. One of theories in this class offers the only explanation-narrative I've found. It's that a frustrated Italian actor following a bad production coined the phrase when he smashed a bottle of Chianti on stage and uttered something like "what a fiasco" likening the failed play to the paded exterior of the bottle's inability to prevent the bottle from surviving deceleration trauma.

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