I have drawn upon Anziano Howard's Dictionary of Mission Slang (1989) for inspiration, but his work is quite a different creature from the list below. E-mail me if you think something is missing from the list.
LIFE AND DEATH IN THE MISSION
||arrival in the mission field after two months of spiritual incubation at the MTC.
||first companion. Some missionaries have come up with elaborate definitions of mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, etc. . . . but I haven't.
||the exact duration of greenie status is debatable, but as with obscenity, you know it when you see it.
||greenies initially think it's the time to clean the house, get a haircut, do the laundry, and run errands; they soon learn it's the time to sleep in, hang out, play calcetto and wander the citta' vecchia.
||an unscheduled and (sometimes) unexpected transfer, possibly stemming from encounters with a snake.
||hearing one hiss at you and your comp for the first time provides an instant lesson in etymology.
||the study of word origins; like snakes, it has very little to do with being a good missionary.
||midpoint of the mish, signalled by some pensive declaration of how quickly time is passing.
||an affliction characterized by excessive thoughts of the big P-day in the sky.
||to witness the death of a companion, generally accompanied by at least a month's worth of 1) lamenting; 2) trunkiness.
||departure from the mission field, often coinciding with the start of a semester at BYU.
VERBS - Italian roots in parentheses.
||(bruciare) -- (1) to reprove betimes with sharpness; (2) to confound doctrinally by nimble use of scriptural reference; some missionaries make a hobby of brooching evangelists of other sects.
||to escape the pressures of missionary work by taking extended refuge within the friendly confines of members' houses or air conditioned stores.
||(fregare) -- to rip off, cheat, or otherwise shaft another; not a nice word
||(impegnare) -- the step in the commitment pattern known as "commit" in English; can be a confusing term to visiting Area Presidency members.
||(mangiare) -- to eat. Though essential to human survival, "manging" in Italy is not viewed as a necessity of life; it is life.
||(portare) -- to take, bring, or wear. As Howard's Dictionary points out, this term allows us to ask two questions at once:
"What should I port to the conference?"
"Port your suit and scriptures."
|prend in giro
||(prendere in giro) -- to give the runaround, take for a ride, make a mockery of; what happens when you ask someone for directions and they have no clue but give you extremely detailed instructions all the same.
||(sbagliare) -- to make a mistake, to be wrong; happens occasionally to everyone . . . even AP's!
||to plant one's foot in dog's nastiest gift to mankind; frequently discovered by returning to the house and finding that the funny smell has followed you there.
||(sporcare) -- to stain or get dirty; often involves your favorite white shirt and your favorite red sauce.
||(sposare) -- to marry; what some mission presidents counsel soon-to-be-RM's to pursue with vigor . . . and some do.
||(suonare) -- to ring a cittofono or play a piano; one way to get into a palazzo is to suon the cittofono as if it were a piano
NOUNS - Italian roots in parentheses.
||approximately 90% of all appointments turn out to be bungs, when the person is not home or pretends not to be home. Does anyone know where this word came from? It doesn't seem directly related to "bidone". . .
||from Howard's Dictionary: "symptoms include sleepiness, moaning, and swollen ponch."
||(pancia) -- a growing reminder of all those bouts of pasta shock.
||(schiffo) -- disgusting, loathsome, repulsive missionary behavior, or the missionaries who engage in it; a schieff day might include waking up at 11 a.m., going camping, and buying the latest White Zombie tape . . . not recommended even for non-missionaries.
||ignoring the fact that "TJ" sballs the actual initials of the sect at issue, these co-ed splits have not yet been approved by the Missionary Department
Tell me something I've left out.