EP word of the week (#66): descolar

Today is October 5th, which happens to be a national holiday in Portugal! On this day, we celebrate the deposition of the Monarchy and the creation of the Portuguese Republic in 1910 :) But today’s word of the week isn’t really related to that – unless we’re talking in a figurative sense.

I don’t usually highlight many verbs in this section because when one thinks of vocabulary, nouns are usually the first thing that comes to mind (since they’re the words we use to represent things and concepts that make up our world); that said, a verb can be just as important to build vocabulary and – at least within this blog – to highlight the small differences between EP and BP that separate and unite us.

Today’s verb is descolar, which means “to take off” (especially in the context of airplane travel). For the same idea, BP uses decolar. BP does use descolar in other ways (some of which are shared with EP – for example, “to unstuck/unglue” -, some of which are not), but Portuguese never uses decolar.


That said, the verb descolar may also be used in a figurative sense, when something “takes off” into a better position (either alone or in comparison with others); for example, economic/social take-off can be translated using the verb descolar (especially when it highlights that a country set itself apart from others by virtue of its higher economic growth).

All of this highlights the connection between this verb and colar (which means to glueto attach together, see also [a] colaglue), des- working here as an adversative prefix, i.e. it gives us the opposite meaning to the one we find in the lemma (uninflected) form.

P.S. I also happened to take off into a new adventure in the past few days: I moved to Luxembourg at the start of the month to start a translation internship! Don’t worry about the blog – I’ve written a few extra posts to give you a new word of the week until the end of year, but I’ll always try to answer your messages and queries – if you can’t reach me through the site (especially when asking a question using the Q&A form), send me an email instead and I’ll get back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Related words:

  • [a] descolagem: take-off, lift-off [of planes]
  • [a] aterragem: langing [of a plane]
  • aterrar: to land
  • [as] partidas: departures
  • [as] chegadas: arrivals
  • [o] aeroporto: airport
  • [o] avião: airplane

5 thoughts on “EP word of the week (#66): descolar

  1. Yuliya October 6, 2016 / 4:59 am

    Olá, Luís! Boa sorte no teu estágio (não estou certo se é uma palavra correta para “internship”)


    • luisdomingos October 6, 2016 / 10:04 pm

      Hi, Yuliya! Thank you so much! Yes, “estágio” is the perfect word for it, actually :)

      P.S. I’ve checked your query on the Q&A, but I’ve hadn’t had time to post an answer yet. I will do so in the next few days (hopefully). Please remind me via email if I take too long :)


      • Yuliya October 7, 2016 / 7:00 am

        Não há pressa, posso esperar. :)


  2. Patricia Eckmeier October 6, 2016 / 9:53 am

    Eu também desejo muita sorte! (You’re going to miss the climate…)


    • luisdomingos October 6, 2016 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you, Patricia!

      I don’t mind the temperature too much at the moment because we’re getting clear skies sometimes (it only rained once since I’ve been here) and the temperature is still acceptable (it’s basically Portuguese winter right now haha), but I’ll probably freeze over a few weeks from now :)

      Good luck with your studies :)


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