tortipede (tortipede) wrote in linguaphiles,
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Malandr(in)o -- Italian etymology query (with Catalan, Portuguese, & probably Sicilian thrown in)

Righto. Following this link from this thread I came across the following sentence:
Gradually the delitto di mafia came to mean more the offence of manutengolo, of being a fence or planner of crimes, and not so much the offence of malandrino, of banditry, of being an executant criminal.
Now, my girlfriend had explained the word malandro to me as meaning, in a Brazilian Portuguese context, a kind of lovable rogue, someone a bit dishonest but not basically bad, who does what they need to in order to get by. So I noticed the word malandrino and wondered...
Following malandrino up on yourdictionary.com I got this:
malandrino (cattivello) adj naughty (with sexual hints)
Compound Forms/Forme composte:
malandrino, che si comporta male adj naughty (of children)
Now, the preceding entry is for a word malandato -- "tatty", apparently -- which makes clear sense to me in terms of having "gone bad" etc. -- presumably mal- + andare. So I then wondered if there were any related words in Catalan. Looking in the Gran Diccionari I found malanat sure enough (defined as 'desgraciat' and derived either from mal- + anar or mala + nat) and also malandrí ('lladre de camí ral; bandit'). However, the etymology cited for the latter isn't what I expected: "de l'it. malandrino, íd., i aquest, del ll. malandria 'mena de lepra'."
But googling malandria doesn't then give me leprosy (fortunately) -- instead something rather dense apparently about black oaks and horses' knees.

I am none the wiser.

So: does anyone have any clear or reasonably authoritative account of where malandro etc. come from; and is the connection I made with mal- + andare spurious, not to say an eggcorn?
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