Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Fias’co.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A failure, a mull. In Italy they cry Olà, olà, fiasco! to an unpopular singer. This word, common in France and Germany, is employed as the opposite of furore.   1
   The history of the word is as follows:—In making Venetian glass, if the slightest flaw is detected, the glass-blower turns the article into a fiasco—that is, a common flask.   2
        A gentleman from North America (G. Fox, “the Modern Bathylus”) furnishes me with the following anecdote: “There was once a clever harlequin of Florence named Dominico Biancolelli, noted for his comic harangues. He was wont to improvise upon whatever article he held in his hand. One night he appeared holding a flask (flasco); but failing to extract any humour whatsoever from his subject he said, ‘It is thy fault, flasco,’ and dashed the flask on the ground. After that a failure was commonly called in Florence a ‘flasco.’” To me it appears incredible that a clever improvisator could draw no matter from an empty bottle, apparently a subject rife with matter.



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