Posted in Portuguese

Quando As Aves Atacam

No bloggers were harmed during the making of this post. Thanks to u/poyoduhmerduh for the corrections and to u/dani_morgenstern for the second pass, strafing the surviving cockups.

Dial M For Moorhen

Eu e a próxima geração da minha família fomos ontem ao jardim botânico para ler e apanhar sol. Sentámo-nos num banco. Eu comecei a ler o “Cadernos da Água” de João Reis e ela abriu o calhamaço de Stephen King, “Under The Dome” (a opinião dela: “tem havido tipo 50 personagens femininas. O autor descreve as mamas delas e depois, elas morrem”)

Havia várias aves ao nosso redor: patos, gansos, galinhas-d’água e cisnes. Uma galinha-d’água aproximou-se de nós e eu disse “Olha, temos os restos duma sandes na mochila. Se calhar esta avezinha gostaria de umas migalhas…?” Enfiei uma mão lá dentro e tirei o pão. Mas logo que a ave viu, lançou-se na minha direção e o bico dela atingiu o pedaço de pão.

Gritei. Mas… Gritei de modo mesmo macho, entendem? E deixei cair o pão, a embalagem, o livro e muitas outras coisas.

Quando vier a guerra entre pássaros e seres humanos, é evidente que não sou o herói do qual a nossa raça precisa.

Posted in English

You Say Patudo, I Say Patão

Unfinished business from yesterday’s moorhen-related content: suppose the birds who wanted to body shame the moorhen had decided to call him a fat duck instead of bigfoot? How would they do that? They could say “pato gordo” or “pato gordinho” of course, but is there a shorter option?

Portuguese speakers tend to use the -inho ending on a lot of words as a diminutive, so patinho is little duck, gatinho is little cat and so on. Augmentatives – endings that make a word bigger or stronger are a little rarer and less regular, but substituting – ão for the final o is quite a common way of doing it. Or -ona if it ends in an a.

So in this case, patão would be a chonky duck. You probably won’t hear this very often in Portugal. Things are more likely to be – inho than – ão, but there’s a supermarket in Brazil called patão, and the word does exist in priberam, so it’s not just a Brazilian thing.

I’m trying to think where I’ve heard these kinds of endings: garrafão is a huge bottle, facalhão is a big kitchen knife, and I think I’ve seen it used for outdoor work knives (maybe even a machete?) in some contexts too. Barrigão is used to mean a big belly, whether it’s big because there is a baby in there or because the owner is too fond of Sagres.

You have to be a little careful with these though. I think, because they are quite rare, they might be used for humorous affect and you probably don’t want to accidentally say the wrong thing. Mulherão, for example: how’s that going to come across? Tall woman? Great woman? Fat woman? Coarse woman? It might depend on the context or that tone of voice, so unless you’re supremely confident I’d just leave it out if I were you.

There are other endings too. I can’t really do justice to them without, basically, rewriting this article from Practice Portuguese word for word, so if you want to know more, I’d say toddle on over there and see what the boys have to say on the subject.

Posted in English


Here’s another nugget from social media. I saw a meme on Instagram about depressed animals which, unfortunately, I can’t really reproduce here because it had someone’s user name in it, but no worries: the interesting bit was off to one side, where a sad-looking moorhen was thinking “As outras aves chamaram me patudo. Body shaming é tão 90s”

What were they saying to body-shame the poor moorhen? Well, my first thought was that pato means “duck” so maybe patudo is like an exaggerated form of that word, meaning something like “big duck” or “fat duck”. But I looked it up and after an initial double-take when I saw that there is a kind of tuna called a patudo, I saw what was really happening. The root of patudo isn’t from “pato”, it’s from “pata”. It means big-footed. And it’s true, moorhens really do have massive feet for wading through the bogs. Poor moorhen! Coitadinha de gallinula!