EP words of the week (#17): travão / embraiagem

After discussing differences between EP and BP in the names of vehicles, it makes sense to check some of the differences inside them before we move on! Most cars have three main foot pedals: clutch, brake and throttle (also known as “accelerator” or “gas pedal”). Of these, only the latter is shared between BP and EP: both variants call it [o] acelerador.

The clutch is known as [a] embraiagem in European Portuguese and [a] embreagem in Brazilian Portuguese (not so different, but still significant).

It’s in the middle, with the brakes, that we find the most obvious differences: we use the word [o] travão (verb travar), Brazilians [o] freio (verb frear). Likewise, hand brake is [o] travão de mão in EP and [o] freio de mão in BP.

Os pedais no carro dos meus sonhos. The pedals on my dream car.

“Freio” is also a word in EP with the same meaning, but it’s usually used in a figurative sense only and in more refined speech registers (as a substitute of “travão”).

Related words/useful sentences:

  • [a] roda: wheel
  • [o] volante: steering wheel
  • [o] motor: motor
  • Um carro normal tem três pedais: a embraiagem, o travão e o acelerador. A regular car has three foot pedals: clutch, brake and gas.
  • Os meus carros preferidos são os da BMW [read bê-éme-dâblio*, that is, each letter separately, just in English]. My favourite cars are from BMW.
  • Se perder os travões, nem o volante poderá impedir o embate. If the brakes fail, not even the steering wheel will stop the crash.

* “double u” (the letter W) in EP spelling

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