EP word of the week (#10): constipação

This word serves both as a difference from BP and as a false friend to English (languages sure are tricky, right?).

[A] constipação is the European Portuguese word for the common cold, the staple of all respiratory systems during the colder months (and one extra thing that makes you long for the spring – unless you’ve got allergies like me: that means your sniffles last all year long!). Brazilians refer to this common viral disease as [o] resfriado.


As you can tell by now, constipação is not used in the same way as the English constipation, or at least it’s not the first thing that comes to our mind when we use the word. For that, [a] obstipação or [a] prisão de ventre are much more common, the first being a medical term and the second a vernacular alternative. Some courses also use [a] constipação intestinal, to stress the origin of the issue and to prevent confusion.

Related words/useful sentences:

  • [a] gripe: the flu
  • [o] lenço de papel: disposable facial tissue (i.e. kleenex)
  • [a] canja (de galinha): chicken soup
  • [o] xarope (para a/da tosse): cough syrup
  • assoar (o nariz): to blow your nose / assoar-se: to blow one’s nose (reflexive verb)
  • [o] espirro: sneeze
  • Estou constipado. Doi-me a garganta e estou cheio de tosse. I’ve got a cold. My throat hurts and I’m coughing a lot.
  • Apanhei uma constipação ontem. I caught a cold yesterday.
  • Preciso de lenços de papel para me assoar. I need tissues to blow my nose.
  • Faltei ao trabalho porque estou engripado. I skipped work because I’ve got the flu.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s