A comment I just saw on Street Smart Brazil’s Facebook page mentioned the word miolo and it made me think of several related words, at least in pronunciation. The comment was about my last article on Big Brother Brasil. Here it is,
“Vc ja viu a campanha para tirar o BBB do ar? Tem pérolas do tipo: “Até pãozinho francês tem mais miolo do que gente que assiste ao BBB” e por aí vai…..”
“Have you already seen the campaign to take BBB off the air? There’s a few ‘pearls’ like: “Even a little roll of french bread has more crumb* than the people who watch BBB,” and so on and so forth…”
A quick word on the use of crumb. I looked up the baker’s term for the ‘soft interior of a roll of bread’ and the word is indeed crumb, although it has never fallen into popular use. In Portuguese, there’s a term for it, and it happens to have several meanings, including the last one on the list which gives the commenter’s use of the word a double meaning.
Miolo (n) – grain, kernel, interior of anything, brain.
As for the related words, pronunciation-wise, they are miojo and piolho (best if kept far removed from one another for reasons you shall discover below). Luckily, I’ve never said miojo nor miolo when I wanted to say piolho, but I have confused the first two at times.
Miojo (n) – instant noodles.
Interesting that, in English, the term noodle is sometimes used to mean a person’s head.
Piolho (n) – lice.
In the Brazilian history book 1808 (a nice read!), there’s a story about piolhos. It relates how when the Portuguese royal family was coming to Brazil, the ship with the princesses was infested with lice and thus the women had to shave their heads. Upon arriving in Rio de Janeiro, they were wearing turbans in order to hide their baldness. The residents, thinking it was the latest fashion from Europe, started to wear turbans, too. Whether they also shaved their heads, I can’t say. Nonetheless, the fashion statement is the origin of the female aracajé-vendor’s use of a white turban today in Bahia.
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