Larápio (Corruption) - Brazilian Word of the Week - plus55
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

LARÁPIO

A larápio is a dishonest person; someone who has the habit of stealing or who is implicated in corruption affairs

Origins of the term

Nobody knows for sure where the word larápio comes from. However, popular culture has a pretty amusing explanation for its etymology. An old book about curiosities of the Portuguese language, called “Latin Phrases and Fun Facts” by Arthur Rezende, tells the following story about the word larápio:

In Rome, there was a corrupt judge who issued favorable sentenced to the highest bidder. His name was Lucius Antonius Rufus Appius, or simply L.A.R. Appius. People used to call him larappius, a term that became synonymous with dishonesty.

The story is certainly nice, but there is no evidence whatsoever that such a judge actually existed. This is likely another etymological legend that simply became popular. That didn’t stop the story, however, from being featured in a dictionary by the famous Brazilian philologist Antenor Nascentes. Which, of course, drew criticism from fellow philologists.

But while L.A.R. Appius didn’t exist, his modus operandi appears similar to how several Brazilian politicians operate. On April 11, the Supreme Court ordered investigations against 108 politicians – including lawmakers, governors, ministers, and a member of an anti-corruption court.

Evidence suggests they are, indeed, larappius.

larápio brazil corruption michel temer

MORE WORDS OF THE WEEK

May 17PINDAÍBA
May 11ANTROPOFAGIA
May 03QUILOMBO
April 21TIRADENTES
April 12LARÁPIO
April 05CHACINA