“The King of Football” Pele enters Portuguese Dictionary as an Adjective

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The term “pele” was added to the more than 167,000 words in the Brazilian translation of the Michaelis Portuguese dictionary on Wednesday.

For the 265 million or more Portuguese speakers around the world, “pele” can now be used to refer to something or someone outstanding, the sense in which it is already used colloquially in Brazil.

The Pele Foundation wrote on Instagram: “The expression already used to refer to someone who is the best at what they do has been eternalized on the pages of the dictionary!” 

The word is described in the new entry as “exceptional, incomparable, and unique”—qualities connected to “The King” of football.

The Michaelis online version also offers helpful illustrations: “He is the pele of basketball… She is the pele of Brazilian drama.”

Although it will eventually be added to printed dictionaries, the word is currently only present in the Michaelis online edition.

This came about as a consequence of a campaign by the Pele Foundation, the sports network SporTV, and the Sao Paulo football team Santos, where Pele spent the majority of his playing days.

Pele who passed away in December 2022 at the age of 82 spent more than two decades playing with Santos (1956–1974), the Brazilian national team, and the New York Cosmos (1975–1977), amassing a record 1,281 goals.

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