Evil Eye

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A culture-bound symptom complex described in certain Mediterranean countries—e.g., Italy, where it is called malocchio—more common in children and adult women. Malocchio may stem from something as simple as a gesture of spite by a person looking another in the eye, cursing him/her
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Orandioso doesn't know how to play hearts, and so he can't sit up front with Malocchio and Moth and the macadamia nuts.
He now knows that Malocchio is more dreadful than he had thought.
Given a chance to defend his honor, Malocchio sings a nursery rhyme remembered from his childhood in an Arkansas gambling den, "La Fortuna e Sempre Con Me." A magistrate asks for a verdict--first from the high-born lords and gracious ladies, then from the happy villagers.
Non-Italians in the know could slyly mention the word malocchio to indicate that they had some knowledge of or connection to the community, and it didn't carry the stigma of the scemu--dunce--who would injudiciously bring up that other word, mafia, as soon as he learned you were Italian.
What I learned from Vincenzo and Maria--who, despite their initial disclaimer, did seem to justify all my friend's confidence in them--was that the belief in malocchio, or the evil eye, quickly adapted itself to an American landscape, and what was once a multifaceted belief system--with different variations for each of Italy's disparate regions-became homogenized.
Queste rappresentazioni erano innanzitutto oggetti d'uso, nel senso che venivano esposti per cacciare il malocchio, le streghe e la mala sorte; e ancora oggi essi assolvono una--se vogliamo--residuale funzione apotropaica e profilattica, se ancora oggi la sessualita e una forma efficace di recupero, che puo salvare dalla paura e dall'angoscia.