EP words of the week (#65): camisola / t-shirt

If the summer is usually judged on the amount of clothes we shed, autumn/fall is always viewed as the return to a more clothed existence!

A shirt is the basic form of attire to jumpstart the process of dealing with the awareness that our warm-bloodedness only works up to a point (in the summer, when societal pressures/personal inhibitions make sure we have something on, a shirt or t-shirt is usually the thing that keeps nosy, prudish people from rioting).

Over here, the basic term for shirt is [a] camisa, which is usually set aside for formal-looking, buttoned shirts; loose, usually short-sleeved shirts without buttons are known as [a] camisola¹ (de manga curta), with the term [a] t-shirt (pronounced just like in English, tee) also being quite popular.homens-camisa-de-manga-curta-seta-marc3a9-skate-homens-t-shirt-de-marca-dos-ganhos-homem

¹ Weirdly enough, the term camisola is so broad that people can also use it for wool or knitted shirts (which are usually long-sleeved); T-shirts are therefore called [a] camisola de manga curta (short-sleeved shirts) if that disambiguation is necessary.

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EP word of the week (#64): pôr do sol

Since we’re a day away from the September equinox and the traditionally marked end of summer, I thought it would be fitting to end this voyage through Summer-inspired words with another beautiful symbol of cycles and waning: I’m talking about sunsets, of course!

In Portuguese, the word for sunset is [o] pôr do sol; it used to be hyphenated in EP ([o] pôr-do-sol), but it lost it with the new Spelling Reform; many people still write it with hyphens, though, and some dictionaries like Priberam’s maintain that we should still write it with hyphens post-Reform; in any case, that’s probably one of the pickiest examples of “changes” you can find in the Reform: was it really necessary to tell us how to connect compound words? It all just seems a little bit superfluous.

This pôr is the verb pôr (to place, to set) turned into a compound noun; just like in English, it associates sundown with a setting [to put something down, to rest] of the Sun on the horizon. The plural of pôr do sol is pores do sol.


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EP word of the week (#63): canícula

We’re slightly past the dead of summer by now, with the temperatures in September getting generally milder as you approach the Autumn Equinox (they’re still higher than most places during their respective peak summer seasons; I’m speaking in relative terms here).

In Portuguese, we have a specific word for those scorching hot days you come to expect in July and August (full disclosure: I’m writing this post two months in advance – smack in the middle of July – and it’s 36 ºC/97 ºF outside): [a] canícula.

It’s not the most common of words, but it’s one I love because it mixes a good bit of astronomy and history into your everyday language if you so choose: canícula comes from the Latin phrase diēs canīculāris, which are a reference to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky which sits in the constellation of Canis Major (the Greater Dog), by virtue of which it got its moniker of Dog Star (Canīcula is itself a diminutive of canis, Latin for dog).

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EP word of the week (#62): francesinha

If you’re a fan of meats, big stuffed plates of food and hot sauce, then there’s only one option on the menu for you whenever you visit [o] Porto, Portugal’s second largest city: [a] francesinha, which is basically a big sandwich [i.e. two or three big slabs of white bread] filled with assorted meats, ham, sausages and cheese.

It is usually served by getting a hearty portion of secret hot sauce (usually made out of tomato, beer and piri-piri sauce, but every restaurant has its own recipe and is generally unwilling to share it with anyone) poured over the mixture, which helps bind the several elements and gives it a glossy brown look. Some dishes may even be served with a fried egg or French fries on top of all that, but that’s overkill to me (there’s enough calories in there to feed a small lion as it is!).


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