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Official Duolingo Blog: “Saudade,” as Defined by our Brazilian Community

October 23, 2013

We asked our native Portuguese speakers to define “Saudade,” a word that has no direct translation in English. From those responses, we crafted a crowdsourced definition for all our non-Portuguese speakers (and here it is below)!


To our surprise, our community responded not only with informative translations but beautiful allusions and declarations, generating interesting discussions about the true meaning of this very Brazilian concept.

Here are some of our favorite responses!

“Saudade, it is all that is left of you. Memories of how happy we have been, memories of how angry you left me sometimes. The things that we have built and destroyed together. Oh, and how many times we had been destroyed and hurt and I pulled you up like all the times you pulled me up. Everything that we have shared, all the saddest times, all the happiest times, all the weirdest times, all the funniest times. Now you are gone, and I don’t have a word to express my feelings; it is not sadness because you gave me happiness, it is not happiness because you are not with me now. I have no word to express myself to you, unless if you know what saudade means.” – Aaron Lionel, on the Duolingo forum

“It would be best if the word could just be used in English as is, just as some English words are used in Portuguese. Isn’t the translation for “banana” – “banana?” Saudades is saudades!”  – by Alexandre Augusto, on Facebook

“I think that a new word would have to be created…. like “homesick.”.. it could be “somesick” or “missome.” – Raissa Salum, on Facebook

“Saudade means Gisele.” – Max Pereira on Facebook, prompting an interaction with the lady he felt saudades for.

“Based on what the Germans say (“heimweh”), you not only miss something/someone, but it hurts. Or “sehnsucht”, when you not only miss, but you kind of keep looking for them.” – Juliana Borges, on Facebook

“There are words describing a similar feeling in many other languages: one example is “banzo”, that was the word used by the African slaves to express the feeling of missing their families/homes/country.” – Marcus Stolarski, on Facebook

via Official Duolingo Blog: “Saudade,” as Defined by our Brazilian Community.


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