Americanata is a common Italian noun which is used to refer to:

  • scherz., iron. Azione, impresa fatta con grandiosità esagerata e ostentata. Bizzarria di dubbio gusto: Quello spettacolo è pieno di americanate. (Hoepli)


  • (jocular, ironic. Actions, feats performed with exaggerated and ostentatious grandeur. Oddities of doubtful taste. That show is full of "americanate".)

The term is generally used with a derogatory connotation to refer to a single action like "Fonzi jumps the shark" or a movie like "Armageddon" for instance, which are often very popular especially among young people.

The expression is generally translated with a phrase like "exaggerated, unbelievable thing", but what is the noun in AmE and BrE that conveys the meaning suggested above?

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    Oh, I like this word! I'm going to use it. I'm 90% it was coined after seeing me in a bar, anyway. – Dan Bron Jun 6 '16 at 18:22
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    Where's your list of words for us to choose from? Should that be the SWR tag and have an example sentence instead? – Mazura Jun 6 '16 at 21:14
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    That's precisely what SWRs are for. translation is also n/a: you have provided one. – Mazura Jun 6 '16 at 22:35
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    As a data point, in Canada the word American itself is both a neutral demonym and a more negative, political adjective. You can distinguish them by context in writing (sometimes between quotes), or by the speaker making a face of disgust or revulsion and adopting a snob, aloof tone when spitting out the word. The reason is that we Canadians often like to contrast ourselves and our policies with those down south, and people veering too close to USA positions considered unreasonable here are derided as American. – Iwillnotexist Idonotexist Jun 7 '16 at 0:58
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    I’m thinking it’s Italianata ... :-) – Jim Jul 14 '17 at 21:45

There isn't an equivalent in AmE or BrE because the term relates to a concept that is specific to Italian culture. The definition given in the question is incomplete and perhaps somewhat misleading. An americanata is essentially any behavior done by Americans that Italians don't understand, and which has an element of absurdity to it. There's generally an element of technological innovation in play as well. And while the over-the-top questionable taste stuff is perhaps the classic example, perfectly reasonable things like dental floss or seatbelts in automobiles are also americanate, or at least have been. The word relates to American things viewed from the context of Italian culture. The things in question need not actually be absurd, they just need to appear so from the point of view of the Italians.

It's also very important to understand that this word isn't really derogatory. It's lighthearted and there's usually some admiration in the mix. An americanata is largely harmless and the word is usually used as part of a funny statement. It's a put-down, but an affectionate one.

Although I can't think of any term to use, a rough equivalent of the concept is our perception of certain Japanese innovations. The culture is foreign and mysterious to us, and hyper-modern and technological. So much of it seems strange and funny, while we also recognize and admire the technical achievements that underlie it.

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The original sentence evokes P.T. Barnum's spectacles and exhibitions, or Buffalo Bill Cody's western show, so in America it would specifically be a three-ring circus:

a public spectacle, especially one with little substance.

"his attempt at a dignified resignation turned into a three-ring circus"

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I think the closest may be kitsch

something of tawdry design, appearance, or content created to appeal to popular or undiscriminating taste.

things (such as movies or works of art) that are of low quality and that many people find amusing and enjoyable

ex: The lava lamp is an example of Sixties kitsch

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    I think that "kitsch" covers one aspect of the term, but unluckily it misses the important aspect of "exaggerated and ostentatious grandeur" that the term conveys. – user66974 Jun 6 '16 at 18:33
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    Yeah, kitsch isn't ostentatious, it's just tacky. – Hot Licks Jun 6 '16 at 19:20


mass noun
1. A type of entertainment popular chiefly in the US in the early 20th century, featuring a mixture of speciality acts such as burlesque comedy and song and dance

"his comedic roots are in vaudeville"
(as modifier) "a stage show with vaudeville acts and dancing girls"


1. An absurd or comically exaggerated imitation of something, especially in a literary or dramatic work; a parody

"the funniest burlesque of opera"
(as modifier) "burlesque Shakespearean stanzas"


noun A comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations.

"On stage he has played character roles in farces, pantomime, comedies and serious drama."
synonyms: slapstick comedy, slapstick, burlesque, vaudeville, buffoonery

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I'm not so sure about this, but here it is.


  1. (rhetoric) A form of hyperbole that uses exaggeration so magnified as to express impossibility
  2. (rhetoric) The expression of impossibility of expression.
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If americanate means, "considered typical of Americans," then the American equivalent would be eurocentric: (or the even more derogatory term listed below: eurotrash)

focusing on European culture or history to the exclusion of a wider view of the world; implicitly regarding European culture as preeminent[*]. –Google

*European exceptionalism is widely reflected in popular genres of literature, especially literature for young adults (for example, Rudyard Kipling's Kim) and adventure literature in general. Portrayal of European colonialism in such literature has been analysed in terms of "Eurocentrism" in retrospect, such as presenting idealised and often exaggeratedly masculine Western heroes, who conquered 'savage' peoples in the remaining 'dark spaces' of the globe. –Wiki

Everyone does it, the only thing that's different is the euro or ameri prefix. I.e., Americentrism. E.g.,:

"That show is full of "eurotrash."

Self-aggrandizing Europeans who condescend Americans, yet consume massive amounts of American culture and appropriate it as their own. –Urban Dictionary

"Oddities of doubtful taste," is dubious at best: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. IMO a word for an "exaggerated, unbelievable thing" (farfetched?) doesn't need all this context, unless this is the kind of answer you wanted.

My point is, why would anyone invent a specific noun to call themselves an idiot? However as Rathony noted, the British have Yankeeism for us wankers.

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    I think eurocentric has a very different connotation. The core connotation of an "americanata" is the exaggeration of an action to make it appear awesome, incredible but imaginatively possible. You would still need a term to describe a scene like "Fonzi jumps the shark". What is it? – user66974 Jun 6 '16 at 21:26
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    @Josh61 - Allow me to reiterate: you will not find an Americanism for this 'Euroism' (heh, now I need a word); we're not that stupid. Required reading: A pedant’s guide to annoying Americanisms – Mazura Jun 6 '16 at 22:22
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    In contemporary Europe, the term "Eurocentric" usually describes what the EU's bureaucrats refer to as "the project" - i.e. the creation of a Federal Europe including full political and monetary union of all the member states. It's a political term, not a cultural one - even though that political concept may be described as "ostentatious grandeur" (or worse!) by non-believers. – alephzero Jun 6 '16 at 23:52
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    The Italian americanata does not mean an idiotic action or person from the US. It's pretty clear from your response you've taken umbrage with the OP, when in actual fact the overall tone of the question is neutral. E.g. there must be Americans who cringe at the huge (almost immoral) budgets spent on Hollywood movies, or when they watch the Jerry Springer Show. Isn't there a term for people who admire and support Bill O'Reilly, and Fox News? What about "your" rednecks, isn't that a derogatory term toward your own compatriots? – Mari-Lou A Jun 7 '16 at 6:08
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    @Mari-Lou A You're slightly too quick to ascribe ulterior motive to Mazura and his answer: I'm not from the US and yet I interpreted it as translating the cultural angle of americanata from Italian-targeting-the-US to US-targeting-the-EU. This is a valuable answer to convey the "attitude" or "mood" that would be achieved in European readers, except OP wishes to induce these feelings in AmE readers (presumably Americans). – Iwillnotexist Idonotexist Jun 7 '16 at 14:04

In an informal context, perhaps some variation of the slang term " 'Murica " would suit your needs. This is a joking-but-derogatory abbreviation of America, often used when referring to exaggerated American stereotypes. Maybe something like " 'Murican " would convey the idea you want.

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