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Cobra | © Marcos André/Flickr
Cobra | © Marcos André/Flickr
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13 English Words You Didn't Realize Were Stolen From Portuguese

Picture of Euan Marshall
Updated: 17 October 2017
Thanks to Portugal‘s maritime explorations in the 15th and 16th centuries, the Portuguese language can be found all over the world, from Brazil and Africa to India and Japan. Over time, several Portuguese words made their way into the English language, and some of them may take you by surprise.

Cobra

From the Portuguese cobra-de-capello, meaning ‘snake with a hat’.

Cobra
Cobra | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Port

From the Portuguese for the same, porto.

Port
Port | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Palaver

From the Portuguese palavra, meaning ‘a word’.

Palaver
Palaver | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Molasses

From the Portuguese for the same, melaço.

Molasses
Molasses | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Tank

From the Portuguese for the same, tanque.

Tank
Tank | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Tempura

From the Portuguese tempero, meaning ‘seasoning’.

Tempura
Tempura | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Cashew

From the Portuguese for the same, caju.

Cashew
Cashew | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Grouper

From the Portuguese for the same, garupa.

Grouper
Grouper | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Mango

From the Portuguese for the same, manga.

Mango
Mango | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Embarrass

From the Portuguese verb embaraçar, meaning ‘to tie into a knot’.

Embarrass
Embarrass | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Labrador

From the Canadian district, which is named after Portuguese explorer João Fernandes Lavrador.

Labrador
Labrador | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Savvy

From the Portuguese saber, meaning ‘to know’.

Savvy
Savvy | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall

Marmalade

From the Portuguese marmelada, a quince jelly.

Marmalade
Marmalade | Culture Trip/Euan Marshall