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Portuguese vocabulary

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Portuguese vocabulary

Most of the Portuguese vocabulary comes from Latin, since Portuguese is a Romance language. However, other languages that came into contact with it have also left their mark. In the thirteenth century, the lexicon of Portuguese had about 80% words of Latin origin and 20% of pre-Roman Gallaecian, Celtic, Germanic and Arabic origin.[1]


  • Pre-Roman languages of Portugal 1
  • Germanic languages 2
  • Arabic 3
  • Influences from outside Europe 4
    • Africa 4.1
    • Americas 4.2
    • Asia 4.3
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Pre-Roman languages of Portugal

Some traces of the languages of the native peoples of western Iberia (Gallaeci, Lusitanians, Celtici or Conii) persist in the language, as shown below. Many places in Portugal for instance have pre-Roman, Celtic or Celtiberian names, such as the cities of Abrantes, Braga, Braganza (Bragança), Cantanhede, Coimbra, Évora, Leiria, Setúbal, Sintra and several rivers like Ardila, Douro, Minho or Tâmega.


  • abóbora "pumpkin"
  • arroio "brook, stream"
  • baía "bay" (cf. Basque ibai 'river')
  • balsa "ferry"
  • barranco "ravine"
  • barranceira "steep climb or cliff" (normally above water)
  • barro "mud; clay"
  • bizarro "quaint, bizarre"
  • boina "Basque berret"
  • cabaça "kalabash, gourd"
  • cachorro "puppy"
  • carapaça "shell, armour"
  • cama "bed" (Vulgar Latin: cama)
  • carrasco "executioner" or "Portuguese oak"
  • cavaco "small woods"
  • charco "puddle"
  • esquerdo "left" (cf. Basque ezker 'left')
  • gordo "fat individual or liquid"
  • gordura "lard, fat content"
  • manteiga "butter"
  • mata, mato "woods"
  • medronheiro "strawberry-tree"
  • mochila "rucksack, backpack"
  • morro "hill"
  • mouta, moita "bush"
  • sapato "shoe"
  • sapo "toad"
  • sarna "scabbies"
  • seara "crops"
  • silo "silo" (cf. Basque zilo 'hole')
  • veiga "meadow, grassland"

Projections on Iberian vocabulary, toponyms and derivations in Portuguese, indicate just a few dozen words in total.


  • amieiro [m] 'common alder', a derivative in -arium of *abona 'river', related to Breton avon, Welsh afon, Irish abha/abhainn 'river'.
Derivatives: amieiral alder woods, amieira young alder tree or hand-basket made of alder or chestnut shoots,
  • abater [v] 'to knock down, to lower' from Vulgar Latin abbattuere to demolish, knock down, overthrow: from ad- + Latin battuere, see bater below. The d is assimilated to the b in battuere from older Celtic.
  • abrunho/abrunheiro [m] 'sloe', from Vulgar Latin *aprūneu, from Latin prūnum, under the influence of Celtic *agrīnio;[2][3][4] akin to Irish áirne, Welsh eirin 'plum'; cognate of Occitan agranhon, Provençal agreno, Catalan aranyó, Aragonese arañon.
  • albóio [m] 'window-pane (nautical), skylight, from Proto-Celtic *ɸare-bow-yo- akin to Old-Irish airbe 'covered, enclosed'.
  • ardósia [f] 'slate', from Proto-Celtic, probably via Gaulish *aritisia- originally wall, mural interior, construction material
  • atol a muddy place, bog: from atolar "to dirty to soil," from a- + tol "mire, muddy place" (possibly from a Celtic word represented in Old Irish toll "hole, pit, grave") + the verbal infinitive suffix -ar.
  • barca [f] 'small seagoing vessel', from proto-Celtic *barga- 'boat', from Old French 'barge', Old Provençal 'barca'.
Derivatives: barcaça, barcagem, barcada, 'barge, flat boat with a sail', 'freight', 'boatload'; from Gaulish *barge-, cognate old Provençal 'barca', Medieval Latin loanword from Celtic 'barga'. Maybe from Greek 'baris' "Egyptian boat," from Coptic 'bari' "small boat." Meaning "flat-bottomed freight boat" dates from late 15c.
  • barco [m] 'boat, ship' from Proto-Celtic *barga-, loanward into Latin bargo, 'boat'.
  • bardo [m] 'bard, poet' from Proto-Celtic *bardos- 'bard, poet' cognate of French 'barde', Scottish Gaelic 'bard', Irish 'bard', Catalan 'bard'.
  • barra [f] 'garret, loft, upper platform', from proto-Celtic *barro-,[2][3] cognate of Irish, Breton barr 'summit, peak, top', Welsh bar
Derivatives: barrote [m] 'wooden beam'
  • barrete [m] 'hood', from Proto-Celtic *birros- 'short coat with a hood'
  • beiço [m] 'snout, animal's mouth', from Proto-Celtic *beiccion- "animal's mouth", from *baicciō "to yell"; akin to Old Irish béccim, Irish béic ‘yell, roar’, Scottish beuc, Welsh beichio ‘to low, sob’, Cornish begi ‘to bray’, Breton begiad ‘to bleat’, Spanish bezo ‘big lip’.
  • berço [m] 'craddle', from Proto-Celtic *ber-tio- 'bed', cognate of French berceau.
Derivatives: berçário (hospital), new-born / infant ward (hospital).
  • bater [v] 'to hit, strike, win': from Latin battere, battuere, "to beat, strike," probably of older, Celtic origin.
  • batuta [f] 'an orchestra conductor's baton': from Italian battuta, from battere, from Latin battere, battuerre, see bater above.
  • betume [m] 'putty', from Celtic *betu- derived from Indo-European *gwetu- with the labialisation of 'gw' into 'b' typical of Celtic, which meant resin. The Latin 'bitumen' (tar) is very likely borrowed from the older Celtic 'betu-'.
  • bezerro [m] 'year old veal', Uncertain: from Proto-Celtic *bicurru- or Iberian *ibicurri- or Latin *Ibex- "wild goat"
  • bétula [f]'birch', from Gaulish *betuo-, derivation from *betu- 'woods, forest', cognate of Gaelic 'beith', Cornish 'betho', Breton 'bezo, bedwen', Welsh 'bedw, bedwen'.
  • bico [m] 'beak, kiss', from Proto-Celtic *bekko-,[3][5][6] cognate of Italian becco, French bec.
Derivatives: bicar 'to kiss', debicar [v] '(bird)pecking'.
  • bilha,[7] [f] 'spigot; stick' to Proto-Celtic *beljo- 'tree, trunk',[8] akin to Old Irish bille 'large tree, tree trunk', Manx billey 'tree', Welsh pill 'stump', Breton pil; cognate of French bille 'log, chunk of wood'.
  • bode [m] 'billy-goat, male goat' from Proto-Celtic *bukko- akin to French bouc, loanword into Dutch bok
  • borba[7] [f] 'mud, slime, mucus', from proto-Celtic *borwâ-,[9] cognate of French bourbe 'mud'; akin to Irish borb 'mud, slime', bearbh 'boiling', Welsh berw 'boiling', Breton berv 'broth, bubbling'.
  • braço [m] 'arm'(anatomy), from proto-Celtic *brac- 'arm', loanword into Latin 'brachium' and Greek βραχίων 'brakhíôn'; cognate of French 'bras', Welsh 'braich', Breton 'brec'h',
Derivatives: braça, braçada, abraço, abraçar [v]; 'tree-branch', 'breaststroke', 'hug,embrace', 'to embrace, to hug'. See further list of derived words:
  • antebraço [m] 'forearm'
  • antebraquial 'forearm'
  • avambraço 'forearm'
  • braço-curto
  • braço-de-armas
  • braço-de-ferro
  • braço-de-mono
  • braço-de-preguiça
  • braço-forte
  • braquio
  • cana-de-braço
  • guarda-braço
  • quebra-de-braço
  • queda-de-braço
  • rebraço
  • violão-sem-braço

There are numerous other Portuguese expressions and colloquialisms deriving from the word braço (arm) see also

  • braguilha[7] [f] 'trouser-flier, from proto-Celtic *braco-,[10] cognate of Spanish, Occitan braga, French braie, Italian brache.
  • brejo [m] 'marsh, marshland, moor' from Celtic *vroikos- akin to French 'bruyère' (often used as Botanical name for Heather but also meaning marsh=marais), old Gaulish 'brucus' (heather blossom), Breton 'brug' Welsh 'grug', Irish and Scottish Gaelic 'fraoch', Galician 'breixo', Occitan 'bruga'.

Derivatives: bregiais, bregieira, bregieiros, bregio, breja, brejão, brejeira, brejenjas, brejinho, brejioso, brejoeira, brejões, brejos all relating to 'marsh, marshlands, moors', and also brejeiro, brejeirice, brejeirar [v], 'meaning naughty person, slightly saucy or cocky talk or behaviour'.

  • brenha [f] 'thick bush' from Celtic *brigna- hill
Derivatives: embrenhar [v] 'to go deep into a bush or forest, figurative: to go deep in thought', embrenhado 'someone who is lost in a deep forest or in thought, concentrating on smthg'.
  • brio[7] [m] 'pride, courage, might, power', from Italian brio, from Catalan/Old Occitan briu 'wild', from Celtic *brigos,[3] cognate of Occitan briu, Old French brif 'finesse, style'; akin to Old Irish bríg 'power', Welsh bri 'prestige, authority', Breton bri 'respect'.
Derivatives: brioso 'proud, brave, exuberant'
  • Britânico [m], from Latin loanword britannicus, from Britannia; akin to Welsh pryd "form", Irish cruth'
  • broche [m], 'brooch', clasp, clip, fastener: from Old French broche "a spit," from Vulgar Latin (*)brocca "a nail, spike," from Latin broccus, brocchus "a nail, projecting (adj.), buck-toothed (adj.)" loanword from Celtic (*)brokko- "a pin, badger."
  • brócolos or brócolis [m] 'broccoli'
  • bruxa [f] 'witch, sorcerer'
Derivatives:bruxaria, bruxedo 'witchcraft, sorcery', bruxulear[v] ,'flicker, shimmer'(of light)'a luz bruxuleia= the light shimmers', bruxo 'clairvoyant'
Derivatives: cabine cabin, gabinete office, telecabine cable-car, pessoal de cabine cabin-crew.
  • cadeira [f] 'chair' often claimed as Latin cathedra loanword from Greek καθέδρα 'cathedral'; is however very likely from Proto-Celtic *cathair- 'chair, seat', akin to Welsh cadair Cornish kador, Breton kador, Irish cathaoir, Scottish Gaelic cathair, Manx caair.
Derivatives: cadeira-de-braços 'armchair', cadeira-de-rodas 'wheelchair', cadeira de escritório 'office-chair', cadeirão 'sofa'
  • cais [m] 'quay, jetty', maybe from French (itself from Norman) quai, from proto-Celtic *kag-yo-,[3][11][12] akin to Welsh cae, Cornish ke, Breton kae 'hedge'; French chai 'cellar'.
  • calhau[m] 'pebble, stone', from proto-Celtic *ca-la- cognate of French caillou
  • camba[7] [f] 'wheel rim' from proto-Celtic *kambo-,[2][3][13] cognate of Old Irish camm 'crooked, bent, curved'. Cognate of Occitan cambeta 'part of plough', Limousin Occitan chambija (< *cambica) 'part of plough'
Derivatives: cambada, cambeira 'coil; crooked log for hanging fish', cambela 'type of plough', cambota 'beam'.
  • caminho[7] [m] 'pathway', from Vulgar Latin *cammīnus, from proto-Celtic *kanxsman-,[3][14] cognate of Italian cammino, French chemin, Spanish camino, Catalan camí, Occitan camin ; akin to Old Irish céimm, Breton cam 'step'.
Derivatives: caminhar 'to walk'.
  • camisa[7] [f] 'shirt' from Latin, from Gaulish camisia.[15] cognate of Spanish/Occitan camisa, Italian camicia, French chainse
Derivatives: camisola 'jersey', camiseta 'undershirt, singlet', camisa-de-dormir 'nightgown', camisa-de-Venus or camisinha 'condom' (colloquial)
  • canapé 'Canapé' from Latin 'canāpēum' mosquito net, from Old French *conopé- 'small-size open sandwich'
  • canastra [f] 'basket, large basket' from Old French 'banaste', from Celtic *benna- 'straw-basket'

Derivatives: canastrada 'basket load, contents in a basket', canastrão 'big basket, pejorative for bad acting or public performance', canastreiro 'someone who makes straw baskets as a trade, canastrel 'small basket with a handle and cover', canastrice 'poor performance or show'.

  • canga[7] [f] 'collar, yoke', from Celtic *kambika.[16]
  • cangalha [f] 'shoulder yoke', from Celtic *kambika.[16]
  • canto [m] 'rim, corner', from proto-Celtic *kanto-,[2] akin to Old Irish cét 'round stone pillar, Welsh cant 'tire rim', Breton kant 'disk'; cognate of Old French chant, Occitan cant.
Derivatives: cantoneiro 'road worker', cantonar[v] 'railway traffic control', recanto 'corner', cantinho 'small corner', Cantão, Cantonal 'Swiss Canton, relating to Canton's legal affairs or government, acantoar[v] or acantonar 'to hide, to isolate', canteiro 'vegetable field', cantonado 'engraved corner (heraldry)'.
  • carro [m] 'cart, wagon', from Vulgar Latin carrum, from proto-Celtic *karro-,[2][3][17] cognate of Rumanian car, Italian carro, French char, Provençal car, Spanish carro; akin to Irish carr, Welsh car, Breton karr.
Derivatives: carroça 'cart', carregar 'to load', carroçaria 'bodywork' (vehicle), carruagem 'carriage', carreto 'load', carrinha 'van', carro-de-mão 'wheelbarrow', carrossel 'carousel'.
  • carvalho [m] 'common oak' from *cassīcos, from Celtic *cassos 'curly, twisted',[19] akin to Irish cas 'twist, turn, spin', Old Welsh cascord 'to twist'; cognate of Asturian caxigu, Aragonese caixico, Gascon casse, French chêne 'oak' (< *cassanos).
Derivatives: carvalhal 'oak woods', carvalha, carvalheira, carvalheiro, carvalhiça, carvalhinha all related to different oak-tree sizes
  • caixigo [m] 'oak; Portuguese oak', from *cassīcos, from Celtic *cassos 'curly, twisted',[18] akin to Irish cas 'twist, turn, spin', Old Welsh cascord 'to twist'; cognate of Asturian caxigu, Aragonese caixico, Gascon casse, French chêne 'oak' (< *cassanos).
  • carpinteiro [m] 'carpenter', from Proto-Celtic *carbanto- '(wooden) chariot, wooden box'.
Derivatives: carpintaria 'carpentry', carpintar[v] and carpintejar[v] 'to do wood-works', carpinteiragem 'carpentry works'.
  • cerveja[7] [f] 'beer', from Vulgar Latin *cerevisia, from Gaulish[19] Cognates: Old French cervoise, Provençal, Spanish cerveza; akin to Old Irish coirm, Welsh cwrw, Breton korev.
  • charrua [f] 'plow', from Celtic *carros- car, with Latin borrowing carruca.
Derivatives: charruar[v] 'to plow', charrueco 'a rough plowing machine'
  • choco [m] 'cowbell; squid', from proto-Celtic *klokko-,[2][3][20] akin to Old Irish clocc, Welsh cloch, Breton kloc'h; cognate of Asturian llueca and llócara 'cowbell', French cloche 'bell', German Glock.
Derivatives: chocar 'to bang, to shock', chocalho 'cowbell'.
  • coelho [m] 'rabbit', from Irish coinân, Cornish conyn, Manx coneeyn, Gaelic coineanach, Welsh cwningen
  • colmeia[7] [m] 'beehive', from a Celtic form *kolmēnā 'made of straw',[21] from *kolmos 'straw', which gave Leonese cuelmo; cf. Welsh calaf "reed, stalk", Cornish kalav "straw", Breton kolo "stalk").
  • comba [f] 'valley, inflexion', from proto-Celtic *kumbā,[2][3][22] cognate of North Italian comba, French combe, Occitan comba; akin to Irish com, Welsh cwm 'hollow (land form)', Cornish komm 'small valley, dingle', Breton komm 'small valley, deep water'.
  • combo [m] (adj.) 'curved, bent', from Celtic *kumbo-,[2][3][23] cognate of Provençal comb.
Derivatives: combar 'to bend'.
  • creme [m] 'cream' from French 'crème', in itself a combination of Latin 'chrisma' and Gaulish *kram- 'crust'
Derivatives: cremoso 'creamy', leite-créme 'one of several popular Portuguese desserts, similar to custard', creme de barbear 'shaving cream'.
  • crica [f] 'colloquial for vulva, female genitalia' from Proto-Celtic *krīkʷā- akin to Old Irish crích 'juice', Welsh crib 'chrest', Breton krib 'bent, folded'.
  • curral [m] 'corral, pen; corner', from Celtic *korro-,[3] akin to Middle Irish cor 'circle, turn', corrán 'sickle', Welsh cor 'enclosure', Cornish kor 'turn, veering'.
  • dólmen [m] ', from Gaulish/Breton *taol maen- 'table-shapped stone'
  • dorna [f] 'a type of boat; trough, measurement (volume)',[24] from proto-Celtic *durno- 'fist'.,[25] Irish dorn fish, Breton dorn 'hand'; Akin to Old French, Occitan dorn, 'a handful'.[26] Nevertheless, the Asturian duerna 'bowl' demand a form **dorno-.
  • embaixada [f] 'embassy', from Provençal ambaissada, from ambaissa 'service, duty', from proto-Celtic *ambactos 'servant',[27] akin to Welsh amaeth 'farm', Cornish ammeth 'farming', Old Breton ambaith
Derivatives: embaixador [m] 'ambassador', embaixatriz 'madam-ambassador'
  • embaraço [m] 'embarrassment, shame'; likely a combination of Celtic *- a noose, or rope combined with the prefix em- (from Latin im- for "in-") with .
Derivatives: [v] embaraçar, embaraçado 'to embarrass or cause shame to someone', 'embarrassed'. desembaraçado 'someone who is expedite, diligent', desembaraçar [v] 'to get rid of, to untangle', desembaraço 'resourcefulness'.
  • faia [f] 'beech tree' from proto-Celtic *bagos- from Latin loanword 'fagea', cognate of Irish 'feá', Welsh 'ffawydd', Italian 'faggio', Spanish 'haya'
Derivatives: faial, faiado, faiar [v], desfaiar [v]; 'beechwood', 'loft', 'to insert, intercalate', 'to fall (down a rocky cliff)'
  • fronha [f] 'ugly face, pillow-case', from Celtic *srogna- 'nose, nostril'.
  • gabela [f] 'handful, faggot', from proto-Celtic *gabaglā-,[28][29][30] cognate of French javelle, Provençal gavela, Spanish gavilla; akin to Old Cornish gavael 'catch, capture', Irish gabháil 'get, take, grab, capture', gabhal 'fork'.
  • galga [f] 'plain stone', from *gallikā, to Proto-Celtic *gallos 'stone',[2] akin to Irish gall, French galet 'gravel' gallete 'plain cake'.
Derivatives: galgar [v] 'carving a stone to make it plain and regular'.
  • galgo [m] 'greyhound dog' from Latin loanword 'gallîcus'(Gaulish, from Gaul); from Old French *Gaule- or *Waulle- (“Gaul”), from Frankish *Walholant- 'Gaul, Land of the Romans, foreigners', from Frankish *Walha- 'foreigners, Romans, Celts'.
  • galhardo [m] 'gallant, distinguished man', from Celtic *gal- force, via Gaulish *galia- combined with Latin suffix 'art' or 'ard'
Derivatives: galhardete, galardão 'award' galardoar [v] 'to award, to recognise someone officially'; galã, galanteio, galante, galanteador 'gallant, charming, flattery, innuendo, flirtatious, seducer'; galhardear 'to show off, to be ostentatious', galhardia 'elegance, grandeur, generosity', Gala 'Gala, ceremony'.
  • galocha [f] 'Wellington boots', from French 'galoche', from Gaulish *gallos + -oche 'hard-sole shoes' also known by the Romans as gallica 'Gaulish shoes'.
  • garça [f] 'egret', (often mistaken with Latin ardĕa-) from Celtiberian *cárcia- akin to Breton kerc'heiz, Cornish kerghydh, Spanish garza.
Derivatives: garço 'colour: greenish-blue, greenish', garção 'large heron', also (rare) from French garçon 'waiter', garça-real 'Heron', garça-ribeirinha 'grey-heron', garça-boieira 'white-egret'.
  • garrote [m] 'quadruped animal shoulders, torture instrument which causes bleeding' from Proto-Celtic *garra- 'leg' and diminutive *garrito- 'small leg'.
  • garra [f] '(animal)claw, grip' also meaning 'bravery,courage,strength' from proto-Celtic *garra- 'leg' same as above.
Derivatives: Garrano 'Garrano wild horse-breed'
  • gato [m] 'cat' from Latin loanword 'cattus' from Gaulish 'cattos' from Proto-Celtic *cath- cognate of French 'chat', English 'cat', Italian 'gatto', German 'Katze', Welsh 'cath', Irish 'cat', Catalan 'gat', Spanish 'gato', Greek 'γάτα'.
Derivatives: gatinhar [v],gatinha, to crawl (baby-crawl), 'pussycat, attractive female', several expressions/idioms like: aqui há gato, trocar gato por lebre 'English equivalent to 'I smell a rat', 'to rip someone off'.
  • goiva[f] 'gouge, chisel' from Proto-Celtic 'gulbia, from *gulb- 'beak', akin to French gouge, Italian gubba, Spanish guba, Old Irish 'gulba' Irish gealbhán (bird) and Welsh gylyf 'sickle' and gylf 'hilltop'.
  • gravilha [f] 'gravel, grit' Celtic *graua- akin to Old French 'gravier'
Derivatives: greve (via French 'grève') 'strike (workers' union)', greve-geral 'general strike', grevista 'someone who strikes or leads a strike movement', greve de fome 'hunger strike'.
  • lançar [v] 'to launch, to throw' from Gaulish *lancea- probably loanword into Latin plāga from Indo-european or Old Germanic *plāk-. The loss of the original /pl into /l is common in the old Celtic languages.[33]
Derivatives: lança 'spear', lanço 'small trap', lanceolado 'lanceolate', lançamento 'launch', lançada 'a spear-strike'
  • lage[7][31] [f] 'stone slab', from the medieval form lagena, from proto-Celtic *ɸlāgenā,[32] cognate of Old Irish lágan, láigean, Welsh llain 'broad spearhead, blade'; akin to Irish láighe 'mattock, spade'.
  • légua[33] [f] 'league', to Proto-Celtic *leukā, cognate of French lieue, Spanish legua; akin to Old Irish líe (genitive líag) 'stone', Irish lia
  • leira [f] 'plot, delimited and levelled field', from the medieval form laria, from proto-Celtic *ɸlār-yo-,[3][34] akin to Old Irish làr 'ground, floor', Breton leur 'ground', Welsh llawr 'floor'.
Derivatives: leiro 'small, ou unleveled, plot', leirar 'land working', leiroto, leiria 'place of small plots, allotments'.
  • lisonja [f] 'flattery', from Gaulish *lausinga- cognate of old French losenge, Provençal lauzenja 'lie'
Derivatives: lisonjear 'to flatter, lisongeio alternative spelling of 'flattery' , lisonjeado 'flattered
  • lousa also loisa[7] [f] 'flagstone', 'trap', from Proto-Celtic *laws-,[35] cognate of Provençal lausa, Spanish losa, French losenge 'diamond'.
Derivatives: enlousar 'to cover with flagstones', lousado 'roof', lousão 'large flagstone', louseiro or loiseiro' 'stone-mason', enlousar [v]'to cover with stones, to make a stone wall, to trap, to trick or fool someone'.
  • menino [m], menina [f] 'kid, child, baby', from medieval mennino, from proto-Celtic *menno-,[3] akin to Old Irish menn 'kid (goat)', Irish meannán, Welsh myn, Breton menn.
Derivatives: meninice or meninez 'childhood, infancy, childishness', meninote 'nipper', [m].
  • minhoca [f] 'earthworm', from medieval *milocca, from proto-Celtic *mîlo-,[2][3] akin to Asturian milu, merucu 'earthworm', Irish míol 'worm, maggot', Welsh, Breton mil 'animal'.
Derivative: minhoquice 'unfounded suspicions, brooding on smthg unimportant'
  • peça [f] 'piece', from Vulgar Latin *pettia, from Gaulish petsi, from proto-Celtic *kʷezdi,[3][36][37] cognate of Italian pezza, French pièce, Spanish pieza; akin to Old Irish cuit (Irish cuid) 'piece, share, part', Welsh peth 'thing', Breton pez.
  • penêdo [m] 'cliff, boulder'
  • raia [f] 'ray, line, streak, trail, groove, ray-fish' from Celtic *rica- 'furrow', line on a field (agriculture) created by a plow.
Derivative: raio 'ray, thunderbolt, radius, thin and long metal piece'.
  • rego [m], 'furrow, ditch', from proto-Celtic *ɸrikā,[38][39][40] akin to Welsh rhych, Breton reg, Scottish/Irish riach 'trace left from something'; cognate of French raie, Occitan, Catalan rega, Basque erreka, Italian riga 'wrinkle'.
Derivatives: regueira 'small water canal', regato 'stream, gully, glen'.
  • rocha [f] 'rock' from old Breton *roc'h- 'rock, stone' with Latin borrowing rocca
Derivatives: rochedo 'big rock', rochoso 'rocky area'
  • saiote [41] [m] 'peticoat, under-skirt' and saia [f] 'skirt', from the medieval form sagia, from an ancient Celtic form from which also Latin sagum 'robe'.[42]
  • sável [m] 'shad (fish)', from proto-Celtic *sabalos-, akin to Old Irish sam 'summer'
Derivatives: savelha [fm] and alternative saboga 'Yellowtail', smaller fish of the same 'Alosa' family
  • seara [f] sown field recently broken up, but which is left fallow', from a medieval form senara, a Celtic compound of *seni- 'apart, separated' (cf. Old Irish sain 'alone', Welsh han 'other') and *aro- 'ploughed field'.[43] (cf. Welsh âr, Irish ár 'ploughed field').
  • tanoeiro [m] cooper from Celtic *tonn- loanword into Latin tunna, cognate of French tonnelier, Spanish tonelero.
Derivatives: tanoaria, tanoar [v], tonel cooperage, to do cooperage work, wine or beer barrel
  • tasca [f] and tasquinha [m], 'swingle', related to Galatian taskós 'peg, stake'.[44]
  • tona [f] 'skin, bark, scum of milk, surface of any liquid', from proto-Celtic *tondā,[3][45][46] cognate of Old Irish tonn, Welsh tonn.
Derivatives: toneira 'pot for obtaining butter from the milk', tonel 'wine barrel'.
  • tojo [m], 'gorse, furze (Ulex europaeus)', from Celtic *togi-,[47] akin to Spanish/Gascon toja, French dialectal tuie.
Derivatives: fura-tojos 'marten'; tojal, tojeira 'place with tojos'.
  • trado [m] 'auger', from proto-Celtic *taratro-,[2][3][48] cognate of Irish tarathar, Welsh taradr, Breton tarar, Occitan taraire, Catalan taradre, Spanish taladro, French tarière, Romansch tarader.
Derivatives: tradar 'to drill'.
  • tranca [f], tranco [m] 'beam, pole', from proto-Celtic *tarankā,[49][50] cognate of Spanish tranca 'club, cudgel', French taranche 'screw bar, ratchet (wine press)', Provençal tarenco; akin to OIr tairinge 'iron nail, tine', Ir tairne 'metal nail, Sc tairnge 'nail'.
  • trevo [m] 'clover', from Proto-Celtic *trebno- farm house, homestead, akin to Irish treb, Cornish tre, Welsh tref, Asturian truébanu, French trèfle, Spanish trébol and Catalan trèvol.
  • trincar [v] 'to bite, to snap', uncertain from Gaulish *trincare- to cut (the head), also possible Latin loanword *trinicāre- (cut into three pieces) cognate of old Provençal trencar, Catalan trencar, French trancher
Derivatives: tranche 'slice', retrincar, retrinco 'to chew, to cut into smaller pieces', 'patch of a bigger piece', trinco [m] 'latch' (door, window, gate), from Gaulish, possibly from Proto-Celtic *trenco- 'small piece',
  • truta [f] 'trout', from Celtic *tructa- freshwater fish of the salmon family.[51] Cognate of French truite, English trout, Catalan truita, Spanish trucha, Italian trota'.
  • varga [f] 'hut; wall made of hurdles; hurdle, fence', from Celtic *wraga,[52][53] French barge, akin to Old Irish fraig, Irish fraigh 'braided wall, roof, pen', Br gwrac'hell 'haybale, rick of hay'.
  • vasculho [m] 'bundle of straw; broom', from proto-Celtic *baski- 'bundle',[3] cognate of Gascon bascojo 'basket', Asturian bascayu 'broom', Breton bec'h 'bundle, load'.
  • vassalo [m] from Vulgar Latin vassalus, from proto-Celtic *wasto-,[3][54] cognate of French vassal, Spanish vasallo, Middle Irish foss 'servant', Welsh gwas 'servant; lad', Breton gwaz.
  • vereda [f] 'main road', from the medieval form vereda, from Celtic *uɸo-rēdo-,[55][56] 'pathway'; akin to Welsh gorwydd 'steed', Vulgar Latin veredus 'horse', French palefroi 'steed' (< *para-veredus).
Derivatives: enveredar[v] 'to take or chose a path or direction in life or profession'
  • vidoeiro [m] (alternative, archaic spellings bidoeiro [m] or bidoeira [f] 'birch',[57] from Celtic *betu- or *betū-,[2][3] cognate of Catalan beç, Occitan bèç (< bettiu), French bouleau, Italian betulla (< betula); akin to Irish beith, Welsh bedw, Breton bezv,
Derivatives: vidoeiral 'place with birch-trees'.

Projections on Celtic vocabulary, toponyms and derivations in Portuguese, indicate around 400 words in total.

Germanic languages

The Germanic influence (Buri, Suebi, Visigoths, Vandals) in Portuguese was small and often related to warfare/military topics. The influence however, also exists in other vocabulary and placenames such as Ermesinde and Esposende, where sinde and sende are derived from the Germanic "sinths" (military expedition). Toponym and toponymic surname Resende comes from "reths sinths", path to the council, the expedition's council.

  • Aringa from Gothic hrings[58]
  • Banco from Gothic banka[58]
  • Barão (baron) from Germanic baro[58]
  • Branco from Germanic blank[58]
  • Broa "loaf" from Germanic brauþam
  • Camisa "shirt" (Fr.: chemise Latin: camisia < Celt < PGmc *khamiþjō, cf OHG hemidi, Germ Hemd "shirt")
  • Ganhar (to gain) from Germanic waidanjan[58]
  • Guerra (war) from Gothic wirro[58]
  • Roubar (to rob) from Germanic raubon[58]
  • Aleive (treason) from Gothic lavjan[58]
  • Albergue from Gothic haribergo[58]
  • Elmo from Gothic hilms[58]
  • Espora (spur) from Gothic spaúra[58]
  • Estaca (stake) from Gothic stakka[58]
  • Escanção from Gothic skankja[58]
  • Fona from Gothic fon[58]
  • Fornir from Gothic frumjan[58]
  • Godo/Gótico from Gothic guthans[58]
  • Guarda/Guardião/Guardar/ Aguardar from Germanic wardaz, Visigothic wardjan Gothic wer[58]
  • Guarida from Germanic warjan
  • Garagem also Germanic warjan "to protect"
  • Guarnecer also from Germanic warjan
  • Guia from Gothic wida[58]
  • Lasca from Gothic laska[58]
  • Orgulho from Germanic urgōli
  • Marta from Gothic marthus[58]
  • Roca from Gothic ruka[58]
  • Tampa from Gothic tappa[58]
  • Texugo from Gothic *thahsuks, shortening of *thahsus- [59]
  • Triscar from Gothic thriskan[58]
  • Tascar from Gothic taskon[58]
  • Trégua from Gothic trigivo[58]
  • Ufa from Gothic ufjo'[58]


Projections indicate over 800 Arabic loan words. Today, this proportion has decreased as the language became richer, some words fell into disuse and newer borrowings from Greek, Latin and other languages entered the vocabulary.

  • Alcova (alcove) from alkubba ( الكبة )
  • Aldeia (village) from aldaya ( الدية )
  • Alface (lettuce) from alkhass ( الخس )
  • Algarismo (number, figure) from alkarizmi ( الكرزم )
  • Algema (handcuff) from alzhaimar (bracelet) (سوار)
  • Almirante (admiral) from amir + ar-rahl ( امير الرّال )
  • Almofada (cushion) from almukhadda ( المخدّة )
  • Âmbar (amber) from anbar ( انبر )
  • Armazém (warehouse; a cognate of English "magazine") from almahazan ( المحزا )
  • Arroz (rice) from arruz (loan from Greek óryza) ( الروز )
  • Açúcar (sugar) from "as-sukkar" ( السكّر )
  • Azeite (olive oil) from azzait ( الزّيت )
  • Fátima (woman's name, and name of a town in Portugal) from Fāṭimah ( فاطمة )
  • Garrafa (bottle) from garrafā (cognate of English "caraffe") ( الغرّافة )
  • Girafa (giraffe) from zurafa ( الزرفة )
  • Jasmim (jasmine) from yasmin (loan from Persian jasamin) ( يسمن )
  • Jarra (vase) from jarra ( الجارة )

The Mozambican currency Metical was derived from the word mitqāl ( مطقال ), an Arabic unit of weight. The name Mozambique itself is an Arabic name, from sultan Muça Alebique (Musa Alibiki).

Influences from outside Europe

With the Portuguese discoveries linguistic contact was made, and the Portuguese language became influenced by other languages with which it came into contact outside Europe. In Brazil, many placenames and local animals have Amerindian names, the same occurring with the local Bantu languages in Angola and Mozambique.


  • Banana (banana) from Wolof
  • Babá (babysitter), a name developed by the slaves to wet-nurses
  • Bungular (to dance like African wizards) from Kimbundu kubungula
  • Cachimbo (smoking pipe) from Kimbundu
  • Careca (bald) from Kimbundu
  • Cabiri (small domestic animal) from Kimbundu kabiribiri
  • Cafuné (caress on the head) from Kimbundu kifumate
  • Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) from Kikongo kipura (cf. Port. & Lat. cap)
  • Marimba (musical instrument) from Bantu marimba/malimba
  • Missanga (glass beads for threading) from Kimbundu

The country name "Angola" is from a Bantu word, N'gola.


  • Ananás (pineapple) from Tupi–Guarani naná
  • Abacaxi (pineapple) from Tupi ibá + cati
  • Jaguar (jaguar) from Tupi–Guarani jaguara
  • Tatu (armadillo) from Guarani tatu
  • Tucano (toucan) from Guarani tucan


  • Bengala reduced form of «cana de Bengala»; Bengala is a golf on the eastern coast of India.
  • Biombo (screen with multiple panels to divide a room) from the Japanese byōbu
  • Canja from malaiala (language of Malabar – Índia) through concani or concanim (Goese).
  • Chá (Tea), from Chinese cha
  • Corja (rabble) from Malay kórchchu
  • Leque abbreviated form of "abano léquio", where léquio means "related to Léquias islands, south of Japan".
  • Ramarrão, ramerrão or rame-rame (monotonous sound), from Hindi ráma-ráma
  • Manga (mango), from Malay mangga
  • Catana (cutlass) from Japanese katana

The country name Macau is from Chinese A-mok, name of the city's temple.

See also


  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u
  4. ^ cf. Meyer-Lübke 294.
  5. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. BECLOS
  6. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1013
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l
  8. ^ Matasovic (2009) s.v.
  9. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. BORWOS
  10. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1252
  11. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. KAGOS
  12. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1480
  13. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1542
  14. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1552
  15. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1550.
  16. ^ a b Meyer-Lübke 1541.
  17. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1721
  18. ^ Coromines (1997) s.v. quejigo; Matasovic (2009) s.v. *casso-
  19. ^ Meyer-Lübke 1830.
  20. ^ Donkin (1864), s.v.
  21. ^ cf. Varela Sieiro, Xaime. Léxico Cotián na Alta Idade Media de Galicia: A arquitectura civil. Santiago, 2008. ISBN 978-84-9750-781-3. pp. 205-206.
  22. ^ Meyer-Lübke 2386
  23. ^ Meyer-Lübke 2387
  24. ^ Varela Sieiro, Xaime (2003). Léxico cotián na Alta Idade Media de Galicia : o enxoval. A Coruña: Do Castro. pp. 293–294.  
  25. ^ Matasovic R. (2009), s.v. *durno-
  26. ^ Meyer-Lübke 2754
  27. ^ Meyer-Lübke 448.
  28. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. GABIT
  29. ^ Matasovic R. (2009), s.v. *gab-yo-
  30. ^ Meyer-Lübke 3627
  31. ^
  32. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. LĀGENĀ
  33. ^ Coromines (1973) s.v. legua.
  34. ^ cf. Meyer-Lübke 4911.
  35. ^ Cf. Matasovic (2009), s.v. Lîwank-.
  36. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. QEZDI
  37. ^ Meyer-Lübke 6450
  38. ^ Matasovic R. (2009), s.v. frikā-.
  39. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. RIKS.
  40. ^ Meyer-Lübke 7299.
  41. ^ Varela Sieiro, Xaime (2003). Léxico cotián na Alta Idade Media de Galicia : o enxoval. A Coruña: Do Castro. pp. 103–105.  
  42. ^ de Vaan, Michiel (2008). Etymological dictionary of Latin and the other Italic languages. Leiden: Brill. p. 534.  
  43. ^ Coromines (1997) s.v. serna; Matasovic s.v. *aro-
  44. ^ Coromines (1997) s.v. tascar
  45. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. TONDOS
  46. ^ Meyer-Lübke 8987
  47. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. TOGIT.
  48. ^ Meyer-Lübke 8570
  49. ^ Matasovic R. (2009), s.v. *tarankyo-
  50. ^ Meyer-Lübke 8585
  51. ^ "tructa : (truite) • 4307 • L'encyclopédie • L'Arbre Celtique". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  52. ^ Coromines (1997) s.v. varga
  53. ^ "BARGE : Etymologie de BARGE". 
  54. ^ Meyer-Lübke 9166
  55. ^ Ward A. (1996), s.v. WORÊDOS
  56. ^ Matasovic R. (2009), s.v. *ufo-rēdos
  57. ^ Meyer-Lübke s. v. *betulus, *betullus
  58. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z Priberam Informática, S.A. "Dicionário Priberam da Língua Portuguesa". 
  59. ^
  • Linguistic history of Portuguese at the website of the Instituto Camões
  • WILLIAMS, E.B. From Latin to Portuguese
  • MACHADO, J.P. Dicionário Etimológico da Língua Portuguesa

External links

  • Contrastive Romance Lexicology at Orbis Latinus
  • Pranto and llanto, but not chanto – On Portuguese etymology A comparison of sound changes in Portuguese and other Romance languages
  • As Projeções da Língua Árabe na Língua Portuguesa, essay by Antônio Houaiss
  • Portuguese Vocabulary Online, Free resources for Portuguese learners
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