Saudade (soh-dah-duh) especially with reference to songs or poetry: a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. An English translation of this word would best be replaced by ‘missingness.’

“Her songs are based on love poems and evoke a melancholy known to the Portuguese as saudade.”

(n.) “yearnings, saudades, those sonorous fruits grown for overripe hearts” or “the love that remains”

A Portuguese and Galician term that is a common fixture in the literature and music of Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and beyond. The concept has many definitions, including a melancholy nostalgia for something that perhaps has not even happened. It often carries an assurance that this thing you feel nostalgic for will never happen again.

“A pleasure you suffer, an ailment you enjoy.” ~ Portuguese writer Manuel de Melo.

“No matter where I wander, I’m still haunted by your name
The portrait of your beauty stays the same
Standing by the ocean wondering where you’ve gone
If you’ll return again
Where is the ring I gave to Nancy Spain?”
~ Barney Rush in his example of saudade in contemporary Irish music.

Image by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior via Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Krista says:

    This is a cool new word. When I was in school I remember reading quite a few poems that were saudade. I think that sort of feeling is what draws people in to writing a poem.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Brother can I relate to this word. It seems lately that I have become keenly aware of several parts of my past that are forever gone; people, places, friends. When the world has been steeped in so much sadness lately, these sorts of losses seem bigger than when I was younger. However, I can say, with out a doubt, that I am always also aware of beauty that surrounds me everyday. Wasn’t the Beaver Moon this past Friday and Saturday night breathtakingly beautiful??? We had the great pleasure to be invited by friends to go with them on a pontoon boat way out to a quiet corner of Newnan’s Lake and watch the moon rise. We were all cheering!

  3. Lisa Von Saunder says:

    what a wonderful and poetic word to learn, thanks for sharing this MaryJane.

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