- a complete and ignominious failure.
- a round-bottomed glass flask for wine, especially Chianti, fitted with a woven, protective raffia basket that also enables the bottle to stand upright.
Origin of fiasco
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for fiasco
The veteran political operative did realize the joy that national reporters took from the fiasco.Racists and Conspiracy Nuts Turn Cochran Call Into The Biggest Campaign Sh*tshow of 2014
July 2, 2014
It was a fiasco, but were some of the players screwing up on purpose?Cameroon Investigates World Cup Fixing Claim
July 1, 2014
“It really came out of left field,” he says of the whole Donald Sterling fiasco.The Fabulous Life of EJ Johnson, the Stylish Son of the Lakers Legend
June 12, 2014
The fiasco over Proposition 8, she notes, should have been a case for the Avengers, but they were now “obliterated.”Tick-Tock: The Explosive Power of the Lesbian Avengers
March 22, 2014
Remember the fiasco of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra?Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts Finally Collide in ‘August: Osage County’
December 24, 2013
Better get a fiasco of Chianti ready—the old kind you have in the cellar.The Underdog
F. Hopkinson Smith
This fiasco, due, I am told, to the jealous interference of the P.-L.In the Heart of Vosges
The Marchese lunched here alone with us to-day, and it was a fiasco.A Spirit in Prison
Her first real failure, a fiasco—she really deserved a better fate.We're Friends, Now
After that fiasco in Ireland you must go somewhere, for a time at least, out of the way.Lord Kilgobbin
- a complete failure, esp one that is ignominious or humiliating
Word Origin and History for fiasco
1855, theater slang for "a failure," by 1862 acquired the general sense of any dismal flop, on or off the stage. Via French phrase fiare fiasco "turn out a failure" (19c.), from Italian far fiasco "suffer a complete breakdown in performance," literally "make a bottle," from fiasco "bottle," from Late Latin flasco, flasconem (see flask).
The reason for all this is utterly obscure today, but "the usual range of fanciful theories has been advanced" [Ayto]. Weekley finds it utterly mysterious and compares French ramasser un pelle "to come a cropper (in bicycling), literally to pick up a shovel." OED makes nebulous reference to "alleged incidents in Italian theatrical history." Klein suggests Venetian glass-crafters tossing aside imperfect pieces to be made later into common flasks. But according to an Italian dictionary, fare il fiasco used to mean "to play a game so that the one that loses will pay the fiasco," in other words, he will buy the next bottle (of wine). That plausibly connects the word with the notion of "a costly mistake."