Saudade, is it a word, a feeling, a way of living?

Saudade: the untranslatable word for the presence of absence, how would we describe this word? The meaning of this word is deeply connected with Portuguese culture and soul. People from many countries are falling in love with this word, wishing they had a similar word in their language.



What is Saudade?

Saudade is one of the most present words in love poetry in the Portuguese language and also in popular music. It describes the mixture of feelings of loss, lack, distance and love. “Saudade” is a untranslatable Portuguese term that refers to the melancholic longing or yearning.


“Saudade is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present.” – Aubrey Bell


It can be used when you miss someone or something. It differs from nostalgia in that one can feel "longing" for something that may never have happened, whereas nostalgia is a sentimental longing for the happiness of an old place or period in time.

In Portuguese we have a very funny expression that is called "matar saudades" which translates into English as "Killing Saudades", it is a term we use when we no longer want to miss someone!


Examples of usage of the word Saudade

-       Saudade of my city;

-       Saudade for my childhood;

-       Saudade to feel like this again;

-       Saudade for that smell;

-       Saudade for a friend you never saw.

“Saudade” and the Portuguese Soul

Trust me, when a native Portuguese speaker talks about Saudade with you, you know it's heartfelt and sincere. Portugal is a country full of poets and dreamers, the word "saudade" is an intense word, used for those who follow their dreams! 

“Saudade” in the Arts

Fado is the most famous Portuguese musical style. It is usually sung by a single person (the fadista) along with a Portuguese guitar. "Saudade" is one of the most popular themes in the lyrics. The word fado comes from Latin fatum meaning "fate" or "destiny" and I totally advise you to listen and feel it once in your life!


Soooo,yes, answering the biggest question that brought us here.... Saudade it's a word, it's a feeling and it's a way of living! Are you ready to feel Saudade? (I hope for good reasons)

Warm regards, 

Juliane (Ju) OLS Community Manager  

Last modified: Friday, 10 March 2023, 1:17 PM