EP words of the week (#116): bronzeado / escaldão

As Summer is drawing to a close in the Northern Hemisphere (and temperatures are about to get warmer in the Southern), it may be time for us to come to terms with the season: and by that, I mean, did or did you know get a good suntan, or maybe a few sunburns along the way?

I’m just kidding, of course; there’s obviously more to the Summer than just tanned skin (at least for me, that was never really an option to begin with), but it’s still the best possible (certainly the most appropriate) time of year for me to introduce the words for suntan and sunburn to you!

In Portugal, when people are outside wanting to bathe themselves in the sun’s way they’ll say they are apanhar sol (lit. “catching [some] sun”); to get a tan is bronzear-se (from [o] bronze, the metal), so [o] bronzeado is our word for a tan; be careful, because this word is also an adjective, so a man will say Estou/Sou bronzeado and a woman Estou/Sou bronzeada for “I’m tanned”. The difference between using ser and estar is, as I mentioned some times before [1], a choice between essence/permanence with ser (someone who has a tanned complexion all the time) and transience/impermanence with estar (someone who’s getting tanned right now, and feels it may not last). A different adjective, perhaps even more common, to say someone is tanned is moreno/a; is usually implies permanence (someone who looks like that all year long), but it’s usually interchangeable with bronzeado/a when talking about skin tone.

Uma mulher e um homem a bronzearem-se na praia. A woman and a man getting a suntan on the beach.

The last thing you might want is apanhar um escaldão, to get sunburned! (lit. “to catch a sunburn”). [o] escaldão, technical term [a] queimadura solar (sunburn), comes from the verb escaldar, mean to scald, either “to burn with a hot liquid” or “to be burning hot”. Regular burns are simply known as queimaduras.

Um homem com um escaldão em forma do logotipo do Batman. A man with a sunburn in the shape of the Batman logo.

So, if you happen to be in Portugal during suntan season, you’ll now be able to let people know whether you had a good or a bad experience with our natural sunshine! Make sure you always keep some sunscreen ([o] protetor solar) or lotion ([a] loção solar) with you to ensure you make the most out of the season and of your holidays, wherever you are!

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