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Origin of the word saudade

edited March 2014 in Portuguese

Saudade comes from the latin solitate, solitude. But it has been incrusted with several other layers of meanings since it is one of the words more often found in poems and love songs in Brazil.Legend goes that saudade is the most difficult word to translate.  

There are, of course, words in other languages with that express the same feeling, but saudade acquired the aura of a unique word when bossa nova composers made it into a kind of muse.

Ter saudade or sentir saudade means to long for, to yearn, to miss someone or something, to be homesick, to be blue.

Eu tenho saudade de casa. I’m homesick.

Ele sente saudade de comida caseira. He yearns for home cooking.

Todos temos saudades da juventude. We all long to be young again.

Estou morrendo de saudade. I’m feeling blue.

But no song condenses better the meaning of that word than Tom Jobim’s Chega de Saudade, No More Blues.Check it out:

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