from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A complete failure.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A flask; a bottle. See flask.
  • noun A failure in a musical or dramatic performance; an ignominious failure of any kind; a complete breakdown.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A complete or ridiculous failure, esp. of a musical performance, or of any pretentious undertaking.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A ludicrous or humiliating failure. Some effort that went quite wrong.
  • noun A wine bottle in a (usually straw) jacket.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a sudden and violent collapse


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French, from Italian fare fiasco, to make a bottle, fail, from fiasco, bottle (perhaps translation of French bouteille, bottle, error, used by the French for linguistic errors committed by Italian actors on the 18th-century French stage), from Late Latin flascō; see flask.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian fiasco ("bottle, flask"), from Late Latin flasca, flascō "bottle, container", from Frankish flaska "bottle, flask" from Proto-Germanic *flaskōn (“bottle”); see flask. "Failure" sense comes through French (faire fiasco) from Italian theatrical slang far fiasco (literally, "to make a bottle"), of unknown origin.


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  • fracaso, decepción // Similar meaning: chasco

    October 22, 2007

  • Apparently both English, Spanish, and French (among others) borrowed this from Italian.

    October 23, 2007

  • I believe one theory about the etymology of this word is that it comes from glass blowing. After failing to make an intricate bit of the glass blowing art the blower has only one choice - take a big breath and make the thing into a common bottle: a fiasco.

    September 28, 2009

  • Here's a somewhat satisfying article on the mystery surrounding the etymology of fiasco.

    November 8, 2009