Keywords: Euphemism; Medieval sexual vocabulary; Old Italian texts.
This article examines the sexual and scatological vocabulary of a representative text of Old Italian, namely Giovanni Boccaccio's 'Decameron'. The analysis focuses on various types of euphemistic attenuation (such as: ineffability-driven circumlocutions, double meanings and homonyms, euphemistic concealments and partial homonyms, etc.) in accordance with the specific prescriptions on turpitudo verborum given by medieval poetics and following the framework outlined by linguistic studies on verbal interdiction. In particular the paper considers the situational context and the dynamic of communication, which control the use of marked metaphors («authorial metaphors») as well as standard metaphors («faded metaphors») common in the colloquial speech of Old Italian texts.