(poo – koon – DREE – ah)
The term “pucundria” identifies a feeling of sadness, melancholy and general depression. The word is very similar to the Italian “ipocondria” = hypochondria, but deviates from its meaning; the more general significance has to be ascribed to its Greek etymology, from ypochondrios, that literally means “coming from behind the ribs”, to indicate the origin of the bad feeling.
Neapolitans are an emotional lot. They are very sensible to their emotive status, and their behavious amplifies their feelings: if they’re pleased, they are explosive, dynamical, joyous and extrovert. On the contrary if, for some reason, the situation is not of their liking, they tend to get depressed and abated: the reasons for discomfort can be various, from a bad moment in their lives, to troubles at work, to bad weather (yes, Neapolitans are VERY meteoropathical), but they all result in the condition indicated by the word of the day, pucundria (often mangled into appucundria, deriving from ‘a pucundria, where the ‘a is simply the article of the word).
In many ways, this condition is very similar to the brazillian saudade: the pucundria is often paired to a sense of longing for a lost situation and, just like saudade, it is often experienced by Neapolitans living far from their homes, from their relatives, from Napoli. So if you know some Neapolitan who lives abroad (and I bet you know at least one 😉 ), and you see him a little bit depressed or sad, probabily he has some pucundria, longing for his home. Hug him, and comfort him.