sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

4.2. Which Japanese words come from Portuguese?

Many Portuguese words entered Japanese when Jesuit priests from Portugal introduced Christian ideas and things to the Japanese during the Muromachi period (1337-1573). Here is a list of some of them which have survived until the present day. Although these words are all gairaigo, some of them have kanji. See 1.2.6. Why do some words have ?.

(Arigatō does not come from Portuguese. See 4.1. Is related to Portuguese "obrigado"?)

Words of disputed origin

The origin of some words such as saboten, "cactus" and buranko, "swing" is disputed, but according to some explanations they may have come from Portuguese.

List of words of Portuguese origin

Here is a list of some words from Portuguese which have survived until the present day.

Japanese (rōmaji) Japanese (kanji/kana) Original Portuguese (from Kōjien) Modern Portuguese English Notes
bateren 伴天連
▽破天連
バテレン
padre padre, pai priest, father
biidoro ビードロ vidro vidro glass
birōdo 天鵞絨
ビロード
veludo veludo velvet 天鵞絨 may also be read as てんがじゅう, the on'yomi reading (Daijirin, Kōjien). May have come from the Spanish velludo (Kōjien lists both options)
bōro, bōru ボーロ
ボール
bolo bolo cake
botan

ボタン
botão botão button
charumera, charumeru ▽哨吶
チャルメラ
▽チャルメル
charamela charamela shawm
chokki チョッキ jaqueta colete waistcoat (UK English); vest (US English). Source language and exact source word uncertain.
furasuko フラスコ frasco frasco flask
Igirisu イギリス inglez inglês England/The UK In Portuguese, inglês means English or Englishman. In Japanese, igirisu means 'The United Kingdom'.
iruman ▽入満
▽伊留満
▽由婁漫
イルマン
irmão irmão brother Term used in early Japanese Christianity; missionary next in line to become a priest
jōro 如雨露
▽如露
じょうろ
jorro jarro watering can Kōjien says this origin is one theory. Daijirin also gives the Portuguese jorro as a possible origin.
jiban, juban 襦袢
ジバン
ジュバン
gibão gibão underwear In Portuguese, the word "gibão" means "jerkin" (in some cases, "doublet"), rather than "underwear", the latter too generic a term.
kapitan ▽甲比丹
▽甲必丹
カピタン
capitão capitão captain
kanakin, kanekin 金巾
▽かなきん
▽かねきん 
canequim unbleached muslin/calico Not used in present-day Portuguese.
kappa 合羽
カッパ
capa capa (de chuva) raincoat
karumera カルメラ caramelo caramelo caramel Daijirin but not Kōjien notes the Portuguese caramelo as a source for this word.
karuta 歌留多
▽加留多
骨牌
カルタ
carta cartas (de jogar) playing cards
kirishitan 切支丹
▽吉利支丹
キリシタン
cristão cristão Christian
kirisuto 基督
キリスト
Cristo Cristo Christ Also kurisuto クリスト
konpeitō 金米糖
金平糖
▽金餅糖
コンペイトー
confeito confeito A kind of star-shaped candy. The modern Portuguese word "confeito" more commonly means "sugar-plum" or "comfit", though it also signifies a small candy made with hardened melted sugar, to which various dyes or ingredients are added, sold in wrapped paper. In this case, it is also called "rebuçado". "Confeito" is also related to the English word "confetti".
kurusu クルス cruz cruz cross See ピンからキリまで, キリ is said to be a corruption of クルス.
marumero 木瓜
マルメロ
marmelo marmelo quince 木瓜 may also be read as ぼけ.
meriyasu 莫大小
▽目利安
メリヤス
meias meias hosiery, knitting In Portuguese, meias means "socks".
miira 木乃伊
ミイラ
mirra mirra mummy (embalmed human) In Portuguese, mirra means "myrrh".
oranda 和蘭
阿蘭陀
▽和蘭陀
オランダ
Olanda Holanda Holland
pan 麺麭
▽麪包
パン
pão pão bread
pin kara kiri made ピンからキリまで pinta, cruz pinta, cruz completely, utterly The pin and kiri are said to have come from Portuguese.
rasha 羅紗
ラシャ
raxa raxa felt
rozario ロザリオ rosario rosário rosary
sabato サバト sábado sábado Saturday Kōjien also notes the Dutch sabbat as a possible source for this word.
sarasa 更紗
サラサ
saraça saraça chintz Not used in modern Portuguese.
shabon シャボン sabão sabão soap Commonly used in the word shabon-dama, "soap bubble", in present-day Japanese.
shōro ショーロ choro choro weeping
subeta スベタ espada espada Sword (in playing cards, original use)
Ugly faced woman
Worthless card (in a type of card game)
Boring person
Not in very common use in modern Japanese.
tabako 煙草
▽莨
タバコ
tabaco tabaco tobacco Tabako also means "cigarettes" in present-day Japanese.
totan トタン tutanaga tutanaga zinc Now used to mean galvanized sheet iron (e.g. corrugated roofing material) in Japanese. In Portuguese, "tutanaga" is a whitish alloy made of copper, zinc and nickel to which bits of iron, silver or arsenium are added (i.e., not simply 'zinc'). It is considered a Chinese invention, though Portuguese inherited the word via Persian "tutia-nak", meaning "zinc oxide".
tempura 天麩羅
天婦羅
てんぷら
têmporas tempero tempura Tempero is Portuguese for spice or seasoning, but the Japanese word tempura means battered and deep-fried fish or vegetables.
zabon 朱欒
▽香欒
ザボン
zamboa zamboa shaddock

Here a ▽ marks uncommon words, readings and variations.

Words from modern Portuguese

Japanese romaji Japanese kana Portuguese Meaning Notes
shurasuko シュラスコ churrasco Brazilian barbecue From Daijirin.

References

Acknowledgements

This list was derived from posts by Christian Wittern, Tomoko Yamamoto, and Bart Mathias, and checked and compiled with help from Paul Blay.


sci.lang.japan FAQ / 4. Words from other languages

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