I went to the dentist today. I’d rather not talk about it.
Anyway, while I was there, I noticed a leaflet about “Bruxism” which is just the technical term for excessive grinding of the teeth. I didn’t even know there was a word.
Anyway, checked priberam, and sure enough, “bruxismo” já existe! This interested me because “bruxo” or “bruxa” is the portuguese word for “witch”, so I checked the alternative meanings and, yes, this one, slightly arcane word, means both: “Mania ou acção inconsciente ou involuntária de ranger os dentes, normalmente durante o sono” (mania, unconscious action or compulsion to grind the teeth, normally during sleep*) and “Crença em bruxas ou em bruxarias” (Belief in witches or witchcraft).
Assuming the tooth-grinding term is as uncommon in Portugal as it is here, I bet this has caused a fair bit of confusion over the years. I’m imagining the dentist telling some catholic parents little João needs to be put to bed in a mouthguard because he’s engaging in bruxismo all night and them taking him straight to the priest for a swift exorcism.
*incidentally, this definition makes no sense. If you’re asleep. how can you be said to be suffering from a “mania”, and how can it be anything other than “unconscious”?