Most languages in the world have the peculiarity of having a specific word that can not be translated in any other languages. The internet is full of articles of these words in different languages. Most of these texts will include “Saudade” as a word that is untranslatable.

I still remember when I was young in school and we would be thought in a weird patriotic tone that “saudade” was a word exclusive to the Portuguese tongue.

I tried to write this post without doing any research in the internet in order to pass the best way I could my feeling of the word. So, what does saudade mean?

Saudade is a feeling. A deep strong feeling of missing someone or something. You can have saudade of your family that is far away. You can have saudade of the bed you slept for many years. The cool thing about saudade is that it can also be applicable to non concrete things. You can have saudade of the feeling you had when hugging your pet or the satisfaction of eating the favourite food.

At least, for me, saudade does not always bring bad memories – sometimes saudade can make you happy. You can have saudade of one day that was perfect or of a long undetermined period of time, like your youth.

Other people will have other interpretations for saudade. This happens because the feeling will be different towards what and how much you have saudade of something.

According to wikipedia, the word saudade has its origins in the 13th century in the Portuguese literature. Its use increased during the 15th century when Portuguese navigators would sail around the world and many would not come back home.

The strong power of the word saudade made it a frequent theme on music such as Tom Jobim´s “Chega de Saudade” (this version is sung by João Gilberto)

By the way, I think João Gilberto is a paranoid schizophrenic, but he is very good! Someday I will post about him.


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3 Responses to Saudade

  1. D says:

    Isn’t that ‘nostalgia’ in english?

    • mbamps says:

      Hello Dries,

      I don´t think it is not Nostalgia. Nostalgia also exists in portuguese. The big difference between saudade and nostalgia is that you can not have nostalgia of something. Nostalgia is also more related with a period of time and not specific things. I can have nostalgia about my youth, but I can not have nostalgia of hugging my pet. At least that´s how I see it, but the whole thing is very complicated. But it is true that the feelings are similar…

  2. Wow. You’ve surely gotten me interested in the word.

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