Olympic Language

brazilian language

In the spirit of the Olympic Games let’s take a look at some English words that we’ve borrowed from Portuguese (the native tongue of Brazil!).

Albatross an alteration of albatroz, under influence of the Latin word albus (“white”)

Albino from albino, with the same meaning, from Latin albus

Banana from Portuguese, of African origin; akin to Wolof banäna banana

Breeze probably from Old Spanish and Portuguese briza ‘northeastern wind

Buccaneerfrom French boucanier, from boucaner, (“to cure meat”), from boucan, (“barbecue frame”), of Tupian origin, mukém, (“rack”), via Portuguese moquém

Cobra shortening of cobra-de-capelo, with the same meaning (literally, “snake with a hood”)

Commando from comando ‘command’

Dodo According to Encarta Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, “dodo” comes from Portuguese doudo (currently, more often, doido) meaning “fool” or “crazy”.

Flamingo from Portuguese flamingo, from Spanish flamenco

Lingo perhaps from Old Portuguese lingoa, today’s língua, (“language”, “tongue”) related to Old Provençal lengo, lingo.

Mosquito from Mosquito meaning ‘little fly’

Vindaloo probably from Portuguese vin d’alho ‘wine and garlic (sauce)’, from vinho ‘wine’ + alho ‘garlic’ or possibly from vinagre ‘vinegar’ + alho ‘garlic’

Zebra from zebra (same meaning), which started as the feminine form of zebro (a kind of deer)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *