sau·da·de |au| ou |a-u| (latin solitas, -atis, solidão) female noun

  1. grateful memory of someone that is absent, of a past moment, of something or someone that is no longer there or reachable.
  2. Grief, sorrow caused by being deprived of someone or something.

Translated from:

Ask any portuguese, he will tell you that saudade is something very portuguese and that can’t be described.


If you let the person keep talking they may go on to talk about the discoveries and women were left behind, missing the men who had gone out to sea.

Maybe, but that’s not the whole story.

They didn’t all go in search of new worlds, some were fishermen.

Exchange a few more words and the person will link it to Fado, how that traditional portugueses genre embodies saudade like it was a rare gem. Not all true.

In Brazil and Cape Verde, and other parts of the world, other genres exist that bring with them that bitter-sweet taste of saudade.

And everyone has their own definition and way of explaining.

I once heard the sentence “Saudade is cleaning up the room of a dead son or daughter”.

Such grief, and dismay, and darkness.

I do agree that saudade exists with a mix of good memories and sort of unpleasant present.

For me, saudade is a cup of coffee once shared with friends and family.

Make your favorite kind of coffee, or tea. Alone. Take your time to make it.

Go sit down wherever you feel like. Relax and let it sink in. With whom do you enjoy having coffee? Who was the last friend you shared a cup with, in a rush or taking it easy?

Was the cup you are holding the same as that time? Does the aroma bring back those good memories?

That is saudade and that is not exclusive to Portugal or any other part of the world.

And I am probably being called an heretic for shattering that barrier that gave the Portuguese something only they own.

To that, I can only say: There is more to life than owning a melancholic feeling guys.

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avatar Bruno Amaral
Bruno Amaral

I am a Digital Strategist, divided between tech and creativity, working for the Lisbon Collective and teaching Public Relations at the …