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Perhaps from Old Italian parpaglione, from Latin papilio (butterfly). Compare Old French paveillon, Catalan papalló, Provençal parpalhos, Lombardic parpaja. The f is difficult to account for, though it might be due to the Tuscan gorgia.

Alternatively, from the dialectal Arabic word in Maltese farfett, Tunisian Arabic فرططو(farṭaṭṭu), which is from Berber; compare Kabyle aferṭeṭṭu (butterfly, moth). Forms with a second -f- are apparently attested within Berber as well, but are at any rate easily explainable. For the -ll- compare the southern Italian variation between -ll and -dd- (as in Sicilian beddu versus Italian bello).


  • IPA(key): /farˈfal.la/, [fär̺ˈfäl̺l̺ä]
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: far‧fàl‧la


farfalla f (plural farfalle)

  1. butterfly
  2. bow tie
  3. (chiefly in the plural) pasta in the shape of butterflies or bow ties
  4. (swimming) the butterfly stroke
  5. throttle valve, butterfly valve

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