Football legend Pelé has entered the Portuguese dictionary as an adjective. Euronews Culture delves into this news, as well as petitions for three other names for dictionary consideration.
Collins Dictionary defines Pelé as: “ Brazilian footballer: scored 77 goals in 92 games for Brazil (1957–71) and was in the teams that won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, and 1970. ”
Fair, succinct and factual.
However, things are about to get a shakeup as a Brazilian dictionary has added “Pelé” as an official adjective to use when describing an exceptional performance.
The dictionary entry reads: “The one that is extraordinary, or who because of his quality, value or superiority cannot be matched to anything or anyone, just like Pelé; nickname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (1940-2022), considered the best athlete of all time; exceptional, incomparable, unique. Examples: He is the Pelé of basketball, she is the Pelé of tennis, she is the Pelé of Brazilian theatre, he is the Pelé of medicine.”
The announcement by the Michaelis dictionary is part of a campaign that gathered more than 125,000 signatures to honour the late soccer great's impact beyond his sport.
It's not the first time Pelé's legacy has changed the language of his home country, mind you.
A Portuguese sports term, "gol de placa", translates to "plaque-worthy goal" and refers to one Pelé that blew past six defenders to score, inspiring a two-minute-long standing ovation in Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã stadium. A local sports writer was so moved that he arranged for a commemorative plaque to be affixed to the arena.
A Euronews Culture petition
Since this is the way we’re going, who’s up for a petition to include the following names for dictionary inclusion?
From: Dame Judi Dench, one of Britain’s greatest actresses who must be protected at all costs.
Definition: To utterly smash it out of the park and being peerless in all things.
Ex 1: “Cate Blanchett positively Denched that performance inTár. ”
Ex 2: “ You absolutely Dame Judi Denched that first date you took me on – when are you taking me out for a second date? ”
From: Gillian Anderson, American actress best known for her role as pre-Raphaelite sceptical Special Agent Dana Scully in The X Files.
Definition: To exude badass ‘Our Lady of Scepticism’ energy with grace, cool and show-stealing verve, whilst rightfully taking to task what seem to be bogus claims.
Ex: “ Thank you for that presentation, Brian, but I’m going to have to be fabulous and Anderson you on your assertions in paragraphs 3, 7 and 8, which sound suspiciously like bullsh*t. ”
From: Tom Waits, the world-weary American composer, songwriter and actor, a national treasure whose trademark gravelly voice sounds like he’s been gargling razor blades and whiskey for every meal since birth.
Definition: A replacement for ‘hair of the dog’, ie: continuing to drink after a hangover - with added layers.
Ex: “ David, what are you having for breakfast? ”
“ Some heavily sugared tea laced with brown party liquor, with an irresponsible side helping of cigarettes and thoughts of breaking into a bone yard and setting things on fire, before putting some thoughts to paper. ”
“ Ah, you’re Waitsing it today! I’ll have the same please. ”
Do get in touch if you support our entries, and we'll contact appropriate authorities to get the ball rolling.