Tempo de leitura: 2 minutos
[blackout, power cut, power failure]
- Na prática, para evitar um novo apagão elétrico, criou-se um novo apagão: o de gás.
- In practice, to avoid a new electrical blackout, they created a new power failure: the gas one.
TIPS & NOTES
The word apagão comes from the verb apagar ‘to switch off’. It was coined in 2001 to describe the severe electrical power cuts at the time. The same word is also used for other kinds of ‘switching off’ or power failure, for example o apagão aéreo, to describe the critical situation at Brazilian airports with long delays, overbooking and cancelled flights.
The suffix -ão is often used in Portuguese as an augmentative. An augmentative increases the quality of the original word, often indicating a larger size. For example:
- forte – strong / fortão – very strong
- centro – centre / centrão – big centre
Augmentatives are very popular in Brazil. An important football championship is the Brasileirão and some famous football stadiums are the Minerão in Belo Horizonte, the Barradão in Salvador, and the Engenhão in Rio de Janeiro.
Names of stores also commonly adopt augmentatives, like Drogão, Feirão, Ponto Frio Bonzão and there is a popular Sunday TV programme called Domingão do Faustão. The most common augmentatives are the masculine -ão and the feminine -ona. For example:
- um jogo – a game / um jogão – a great game
- uma mesa – a table / uma mesona – a big table
Strangely enough, the masculine augmentative can also sometimes be used with a feminine noun. The noun then becomes grammatically masculine with a feminine meaning. For example:
- uma mulher – a woman
- um mulherão – a big woman (normally used by men rather than women to describe a woman).
Cf. TIPS & NOTES for FLANELINHA for details about the diminutive, which is the opposite of the augmentative.
Break the Branch? Quebrar o Galho – Common, Everyday Words and Phrases in Brazilian Portuguese, de Jack Scholes, Disal Editora, 2008. Leia a resenha para obter mais informações sobre o livro. Adquira seu exemplar com conforto e total segurança no site da Disal Distribuidora.