EP word of the week (#24): taparuere

In all languages (especially those who are relatively lenient towards crosspolination from other languages and acceptant towards loanwords), we witness an interesting process: that of certain brand names become metonimically associated to every product/utensil of the same type as the one that became the generic name, regardless of manufacturer.

EP has several words that fall under that jurisdiction, in this case a word that’s being so divorced of its trademark that most people learn and use it without realizing where it comes from (or not paying enough attention, that is). So tonight, I’m present you with this beautiful word: [o] taparuere, or if you want to keep it in its pure state as a loanword, [o] tupperware.

Both words are present in dictionaries [1] [2], so you can use either one of them to make reference to the omnipresent plastic containers people store their food in; when in doubt, think of [o] taparuere to remember the Portuguese pronunciation of the word, but use [o] tupperware in writing (it’s not something that comes up often when writing a letter or email, but you never know!). If you’re feeling wordy you can use [o] recipiente de plástico (lit. “plastic container”), but [o] taparuere is the most common term.

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Taparueres de diferentes tamanhos e feitios. Plastic food containers of different shapes and sizes.

Brazilians have different genericized names for Tupperware [3] (matching the native pronunciation of the brand name, as is common with this process of integrating loanwords into a language); of those terms, [o] tapoer seems to be gaining most traction among people among this lowly business of naming words for plastic food containers in different languages.

It should also be noted that EP and BP may share differences among genericized brand names, since this process is contingent on a series of factors that have national/regional relevance (for example, a given company establishing itself in one country and not the other). You should keep that in mind when learning new words – make sure you adjust yourself to your listener as much as possible to avoid misunderstandings.

Useful words:

  • [a] tampa: lid (of a taparuere)
  • [a] comida: food
  • [a] comida de plástico: junk food / fast food
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