So you know when you go on vacation for practically a whole month and you don’t schedule enough words-of-the-day in advance? Yea…. that is definitely a brutta figura… on my part. (Sorry about that!)
Literally meaning an ‘ugly figure,’ a brutta figura is when someone makes a poor showing, appears in a bad light, or makes a fool of herself. It can also be used with the verb fare, or to make/to do, in Italian. In other words, someone does something that reflects poorly on herself.
‘Zvia è andata via e ha lasciato il popolo di Roma senza ‘una parola al giorno.’ Che brutta figura.’ – Zvia went away and left the people of Rome without a ‘word of the day.’ What a bad showing.
‘Giovanni ha fatto una brutta figura quando ha chiamato la sua ragazza con un nome diverso dal suo.’ – Giovanni made a fool of himself when he called his girlfriend by a name other than hers.
And just as someone can make a brutta figura, you can also make a bella figura. If someone does something that shows her in a good light, that is a bella figura. In other words, to make a good impression.