[saw.dˈa.dɨ] Saudade is a Portuguese term with no direct translation to other languages. It refers to an emotional state of longing, which evokes a sense of loneliness and incompleteness.
Origins of Saudade
Some specialists say the term may have originated during the Era of Great Discoveries by the Portuguese Crown. It gave meaning to the sadness of people separated due to the departure of sailors.
However, there are records of the word being used back in the 13th century.
Saudade comes from the Latin word solitatem, which means solitude. With time, the word evolved to saudade. It came to describe a feeling of absence, of sadness of something that’s missing. Among the many definitions is a nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. According to Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo, saudade is “a pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.”
Due to its various meanings, the word cannot be directly translated into other languages. The website Today Translations has ranked the term as one of the hardest non-English words to translate. In a top 10 list, saudade came in seventh.
This word has helped forge the identity of the Brazilian and Portuguese people. It frequently comes up in music and literature. One of the most famous Bossa Nova songs of all time is called Chega de saudade (literally, “no more longing”).