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Pelé in the dictionary: the wonderful opportunity to baptize everything “out of the ordinary” with the name of O’rei

Five days after Christmas 2022, Edson Arantes do Nascimento paralyzed the planet with his death, after various conditions and a long stay in a sanatorium in Sao Paulo, where he was recovering from aggressive cancer, that disease that is impossible to define. The same thing happened when he was alive: we all saw Pelé on TV, in the streets, in the sands of Rio, in the Netflix series, as an extension of his immortal career. The only footballer who won three World Cups (and who only needed to “play on the Moon”) -as the BBC called him- thus began the mourning that was never going to end.

Pelé was already in the books, he just needed to enter the dictionaries.

The nickname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, “Pelé”, is as of this Wednesday one of the more than 167,000 words included in the Michaelis dictionary, one of the best known in the Portuguese language. In Brazil, the nickname of the former soccer player who died last December is used colloquially as a synonym for extraordinary, however from now on it can be used by the more than 265 million speakers of that language. It’s like saying sea to sea, poetry to poetry, God to God. There is no other way to call magic than to call it Pelé.

For this reason, in the Michaelis dictionary of the Portuguese language, ‘pelé’ (without a capital letter) is synonymous with “exceptional, incomparable, unique”. Its exact definition is as follows:

“Something or someone out of the ordinary, something or someone who, due to their quality, value or superiority, cannot be compared with anything or anyone, like ‘Pelé’, nickname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (1940-2022), considered the best athlete of all times”.

This is read in the online version of the dictionary. Michaelis also gives some examples of the use of it: “He is the pele of basketball”, “she is the pele of Brazilian drama”, “he is the pele of medicine”.

“In a colloquial and hidden way, almost underground For those of us who work outside the walls of the formality of language, being the Pelé of something has always been synonymous with greatness”, says the journalist and writer Leonardo Ledesma Watson, who, raised in the Matute neighborhood, can only know how to play football well. .


What Pelé means from now and forever

In a colloquial and hidden way, almost underground For those of us who work outside the walls of the formality of language, being the Pelé of something has always been synonymous with greatness. Today, after a campaign that involves foundations and marketing backgrounds, the Michaelis dictionary of the Portuguese language has accepted that Pelé, the first word to become a three-time world champion, means “out of the ordinary” and that it points to something “whose value It can’t be matched.” Although Edson Arantes Do Nascimento is more associated with my grandfather’s time even than my father’s, the intergenerational impact is so powerful that I could use it with my twenty-something nephew by mentioning that he is the Pelé of his finance class and he would surely understand me. As universal and transcendent, as when the Kafkaesque appears to depict the turmoil of a country, or when the Orwellians prevail to denounce the curtailment of freedoms, Pelé, the term, is imposed almost by royal mandate, like O Rei.

-An opinion of Leonardo Ledesma Watsonwriter-

What does it mean that this word -Pelé- finally enters dictionaries? El Comercio contacted two linguists to explain the dimension of this access.

“Basically, the use of this word is the determining factor for it to be incorporated into a dictionary. One of the functions of these institutions, apart from regulating language regulations, is also to formally integrate the most commonly used words”, comments linguist Elizabeth Bautista,

For his part, the president of Ascot (Association of Proofreaders of Peru), Gildo Valero tells us the following: “Well, it’s a bit of a magical thing. there is nothing that we can see in the words that organizes the meaning in a certain sense; it just happens,” Valero told El Comercio. “Logically, over time, some words achieve greater prominence due to different factors. Pelé was undoubtedly a very famous character and was associated with a very specific quality: excellence. It is more or less normal for the quality to be associated with the name and to displace it, but it is also common for the name to displace the quality. Also, in this case, I understand that he has been part of a campaign by a foundation that promotes the former soccer player, ”he added.

Sitting in the old newsroom of El Comercio, on Lampa and Miró Quesada, five DT journalists throw away other phrases or words that have acquired a wonderful real value linked to soccer. What experts call antonomasia


-If it’s a great goal, then it’s not, but it’s a Puskas goal.

-When Loco Abreu finished off a penalty kick -or also, the Chilean Vargas or the Peruvian Ruidíaz- we don’t call it luxury: “It’s a Panenka”.

-The runs from field to field, the imprints, the zigzags that start and end when the crack wants, are not just called fabulous plays. They are Maradona, because Maradona is all the good that ever existed in football.

*** We imagine that Pelé levitated: this is the only way to explain his ability to avoid rivals without anyone being able to knock him down. And we only explain his jump for the first goal of the final against Italy in Mexico in 1970, the World Cup that eternalized him. The cameras have not discovered yet if that was it, he had springs for butts, or he was riding. roller skates.

Anyway, Pelé is already in the most widely read Portuguese dictionary in that language. We already have a way to call everything inexplicable that happens to us.

Source: Elcomercio

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