Combinare

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Reggitano
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:00 pm

Combinare

Post by Reggitano » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:11 pm

I have a question about usage of the word combinare.

The literal meaning is to combine, put together, etc. But my question is about the connotation it has. I've heard it used to mean something pejorative, like when a child makes a mess and someone says “Che cosa hai combinato?” Or someone saying “Ho combinato un pasticcio!”

But does it always carry this negative meaning, or does it depend on context and usage? For example, can it be used in a way that has no negative connotations whatsoever? If not, what other word would be used to convey the English word combine? Force example “I combined the ingredients to make a soup.”

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Peter
Posts: 2902
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:41 pm
Location: Horsham, West Sussex, England

Re: Combinare

Post by Peter » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:11 pm

Reggitano wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:11 pm
I have a question about usage of the word combinare.

The literal meaning is to combine, put together, etc. But my question is about the connotation it has. I've heard it used to mean something pejorative, like when a child makes a mess and someone says “Che cosa hai combinato?” Or someone saying “Ho combinato un pasticcio!”

But does it always carry this negative meaning, or does it depend on context and usage? For example, can it be used in a way that has no negative connotations whatsoever? If not, what other word would be used to convey the English word combine? Force example “I combined the ingredients to make a soup.”
I don't think it is pejorative as such. It seems like a colloquialism. Che cost hai combinato, according to Wordreference (WF), means 'what are you up to', which can simply mean 'what on Earth are you doing?' Saying that, your second example is certainly a criticism or admission of doing or being wrong. Again referring to WF, combinare in pasticci means 'to get into trouble'.

Combinare by itself simply means combine. In your example, relating to food, it is probably more common to use mescolare.

Hope this helps.


Peter

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