Portuguese to English lapiseira

Dictionary entry: lapiseira
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Alan Evangelista

Senior Member
Brazilian Portuguese
"lapiseira" is "mechanical pencil". It has *nothing* to do with a "pencil case" (case used to store pencils, pens and erasers), that is "estojo" in Portuguese.
 
  • casaleiro

    Member
    Dictionary Editor
    English - Ireland
    Alan, thank you very much for this error report. I just spent an interesting half-hour looking into the various denotations of the Portuguese words lapiseira and estojo, as well as the English term mechanical pencil.

    I conclude that (1) words sometimes have more than one meaning, (2) words and meanings change over time, and (3) certain objects have different names on opposite sides of the Atlantic. For example, mechanical pencils are apparently called propelling pencils in UK English. Until today I knew no name at all for the device in question.

    Anyway, I’m satisfied that lapiseira has at least two senses. According to the great Brazilian lexicographer António Houaiss:

    lapiseira f. 1. mechanical pencil 2. pencil case or box.

    That dictionary was published in 1964. I’m guessing that the 'pencil-case' sense is outdated in Brazil today since you strongly disagree with it.

    The only other source I have at hand right now is the Porto Editora Dicionário de Português – Inglês (European Portuguese, second edition 1998). Here too we find:

    lapiseira f. 1. pencil case, pencil holder 2. lapiseira automática propelling-pencil.

    Online, instances of both senses can easily be found, but it's clear that the mechanical pencil is the main sense today. So, I’ve added 'mechanical pencil' and 'propellor pencil' to the entry for lapiseira, while maintaining 'pencil case'. We also need to add the sense 'pencil case' to estojo, where it just says ‘case, box’. It will take a couple of weeks before these changes are visible online.

    Thanks, and keep the reports coming!
     
    Last edited:

    Alan Evangelista

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Thanks you very much for the thorough answer. I have made many suggestions like this one to WR dicts (most in them in other languages dicts) in the past and rarely got any feedback.

    I’m guessing that the 'pencil-case' sense is outdated in Brazil today since you strongly disagree with it.
    I have asked in the Portuguese forum (Lapiseira = estojo) and European Portuguese speakers confirmed that meaning is not used nowadays in Portugal either. One of the answers in that thread quoted a Portuguese text from the nineteenth century which used it.
     

    casaleiro

    Member
    Dictionary Editor
    English - Ireland
    Excellent research.
    Without exception, the Portuguese native-speakers in the forum have literally never encountered the usage. Since the term is apparently obsolete (though still found in most or all Portuguese>English dictionaries), the best option is simply to remove it from the dictionary. So now the entry reads:

    lapiseira f. (material escolar) mechanical pencil (US, UK), propelling pencil (UK).

    The corrected version won't appear for a few weeks.

    Next I'm going to send the whole question to the editor on the Eng > Port side, where the entry for pencil case also needs to be fixed. Judging by the discussion in the forum, it seems that the following terms are all current in different regions: estojo, porta-lápis (Port.), penal (Br.).
     

    Alan Evangelista

    Senior Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Next I'm going to send the whole question to the editor on the Eng > Port side, where the entry for pencil case also needs to be fixed. Judging by the discussion in the forum, it seems that the following terms are all current in different regions: estojo, porta-lápis (Port.), penal (Br.).
    Nice! AFAIK "penal" only has this meaning in some parts of the South region of Brazil. I live in the Southeast region and have never heard it here.
     

    casaleiro

    Member
    Dictionary Editor
    English - Ireland
    The Eng>Port editor is Brazilian, so I suppose she'll have her own views on the matter. I sent her links to both of your threads :)
     

    MeggieBR

    Senior Member
    Dictionary Editor
    Portuguese - Brazil
    The Eng>Port editor is Brazilian, so I suppose she'll have her own views on the matter. I sent her links to both of your threads :)
    Hi Casaleiro and Alan, thanks for letting me know about this. It was indeed incorrect to translate it as 'lapiseira'. Also, about 'penal', I´ll add that it´s a rare term.
    I´ve made the correction but we´ll have to wait a bit until it´s in the dictionary.
    :)
     
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