Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

How to curse the referee the Italian way

How to curse the referee the Italian way
They’re the most popular, or unpopular person on the pitch, depending on their handling of critical match decisions. The soccer referee is the brunt of many fan chants, torments and insults. Whether called out en-masse at the match, or yelled at through the TV screen, there are plenty of colorful insults Italians can shout at the ref – many of which we wouldn’t dream of printing here.
One of the most popular however, is “Cornuto!”. Literally, it means ‘man with horns’ and is usually accompanied by the hand gesture that makes a bull by raising the index and little finger from a fist and rotating the hand. But rather than being sign of strength, this cornuto symbol is a slight on the victim’s masculinity. Folk legend has it that when a man’s wife cheats on him, he grows small horns. Technically, he is a cuckold.
So to call someone a cornuto, is to suggest that they perform so poorly in bed, that their wife has to go elsewhere for gratification. The perfect insult for a referee who has dented your team’s pride, or for that matter, any man that acts in a way you disapprove of and want to insult. And believe it or not, that’s not one of the ruder Italian insults. But we’ll let you research those for yourself.