When translating from Portuguese to English the word "Portugalidade" (ancient "Portucalidade"), that means basically "being Portuguese" or "Portugueseness", in a socio-scientific paper setting, how would one best put it?

  • "Being Portuguese"
  • "Portugueseness"
  • Other?

The word "means to" explain the feeling and heritage of "being Portuguese".

Thank you.

  • 2
    “Portugality”​​​? Jun 17 '15 at 12:34
  • "Portugosity??" Jun 17 '15 at 12:58
  • @ErnestFriedman-Hill - that sounds like a disease.
    – user66974
    Jun 17 '15 at 13:05

According to Collins, Britishness is

relating to, denoting, or characteristic of Britain or any of the natives, citizens, or inhabitants of the United Kingdom

So I guess Portugueseness would be ok.

Alternatively, you can use the "official" latin prefix for things related to Portugual: Luso from the ancient roman province Lusitania.
For example, in French, and in some English books, people speaking Portuguese or Brazilian are called "lusophone".

In this case I'd propose the neologism Lusoness ?

At least one reputable source (the official Translation Bureau of Canada), Termium uses


to translate lusitanité (French) and lusitanidad (Spanish) which is the quality of what is portuguese. (The latest sound a lot like Portugalidade, isn't ?)

  • "Lusoness" seems clumsy to me, since -ness comes down to us from Middle English and is generally used with stem words that are also English in origin.
    – mikeagg
    Dec 14 '15 at 14:14
  • no more clumsy than assertiveness, publicness, strangeness and hundreds of other words that are not middle English in origin, but use -ness.
    – P. O.
    Dec 14 '15 at 14:43
  • True. The brilliance of English is its inconsistency. Yet Lusoness seems too akin to looseness and not sufficiently Iberian to my ears.
    – mikeagg
    Dec 14 '15 at 15:15

The only reference to portugueseness is from Wiktionary as:

  • the quality or state of being Portuguese.

but the term can be found in a number of academic papers:

There is no real reference for portugality and the scarce usage you can find on the net refers mainly to the language.

I think you can use portugueseness to suggest the idea of portugalidade you describe in your question.


In a socio-scientific paper, I think the phrase "Portuguese identity" would use a more common jargon term from that realm of academia. I think if you look at the literature in English, you'll find identity being employed very often for the concept you are talking about.

However, online dictionaries do not seem to list this academic definition, on cursory searching.


Clearly, English hasn't so far needed a special abstract noun *the quality of being Portuguese", but there is no reason not to invent one.

Since the English word "Portuguese" derives from the Portuguese português, which in term derives from medieval Latin portugalensis, it seems appropriate to base our new noun on that root. To reach further back, to the name of the Roman imperial province Lusitania, seems unnecessary, since that territory only loosely corresponds geographically to modern or even medieval Portugal and the choice will only encourage those who like to show off their erudition.

In English we often form abstract nouns by adding one of these endings: -tion -ism -ity -ment -ness -age -ance -ence -ship -ability -acy (Source). I would immediately disquality those of a germanic root. (A frosty northern European suffix for such a warm and spice-loving nation? I think not!)

Of the multiple options I think Portugalenticism sounds the grandest, while Portuguesity is simpler and closer to the adjective. But surely the word that best sums up the quality of originating from that beautiful Atlantic country is Portuguessence.


I have been using the word «Portugality» for this meaning, defining it as «the culture resulting from global cultural fusion started by Portuguese navigations of the XVth. century and lasting to this day in places like Brazil, Mozambique, East Timor or Melaka, among many others. It is expressed through the vast heritage in architecture, music, religion, language, social organization and people.» (http://portugality.yolasite.com/about-us.php). In fact, today's «being Portuguese» goes well beyond «being from Portugal». Peoples from all continents call themselves Portuguese even if they never set their eyes upon any square inch of Portugal or on anyone born there. Portugality is a result of aculturation, the mix of original European Portuguese culture with several others from the places where the Portuguese went, settled and traded with. The remarkable feature of this ethnic-cultural phenomenon is that not just those places were changed by Portuguese influx. Portugal and its inhabitants are today also a result of the same aculturation, as anyone who has travelled extensively in Portugal and known the national cuisine, arts, music or language can attest. The latter is a particular register of this bidirectional blending process as words from arabic, tupi-guarani, konkani, mandarin, japanese, bantu, umbundu or kimbundu, to name just a few, can be often heard today from the mouths of young and old Portuguese in the streets of Lisboa as in the beaches of Rio de Janeiro.

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