EP word of the week (#40): afia-lápis

If you have pencils, then it’s certain you’ll need pencil sharpeners. In Portugal, these are known as [o] afia-lápis (informally just [o] afia) or [o] apara-lápis (or [o] aparador).

These words are interesting because they’re compound nouns, that is, they’re formed from different words or radicals that find new meaning (another good example is [o] chapéu-de-chuva, one of the first words I covered for this segment). In this case, afia and apara are verb forms (afiar means “to sharpen”; aparar means “to trim, to sharpen a pencil, to smooth out a surface”), and [o] lápis means pencil.

The noun for shaving (the pieces/ribbons of wood sliced from the pencil during the sharpening process) is [a] apara (usually used in the plural, [as] aparas).

Meanwhile – and because this is Word of the Week -, BP uses a different word for this handy tool; in the land of Vera Cruz, it is known as [o] apontador.

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