In English, many of the words beginning with G have a certain grubbiness. Think of all those greedy governors and governments, of gamblers, gangsters and gatecrashers. Think of the gruesome and the grotesque. Think of gonorrhea, gingivitis, gangrene, garlic breath and the grapes of wrath. Or the gods who must be crazy. But it’s not all gloom and doom. There are G-strings, G-spots, gorgeous genitals, gallant gentlemen, garrulous grannies, people who are glad to be gay, grinners who are winners, those who like a giggle, and people who are game for anything.
Incidentally, in our family when I was a kid growing up – and this was way before the internet was invented – the word “google” was a euphemism for “fart”. My mum or sister might say, “Pardon me, I just googled.” (I should stress that it was not a common habit of theirs, and usually theirs were discreet and silent, which was why they had to confess like Catholics.) Me? I wasn’t so polite. I googled with gusto and then let out a guffaw. I never apologised. What gall! So next time someone tells you, “just google it“, you know what to do!😀
So, what gee whiz words have we found in the five Romance languages?
PORTUGUESE: gozar means to enjoy (oneself), relish, derive pleasure from. The noun is gozo (masculine) meaning joy or pleasure, and the adjective is gozoso (not to be confused with gostoso, which means tasty or delicious). So there are expressions such as gozar ferias, to be on holiday, and saltar de gozo, meaning to leap for joy. However, in Brazilian usage, gozar also means to mock, laugh at someone or to reach an orgasm, and gozo means a joke, sexual pleasure or orgasm. So when a Brazilian exclaims “vou gozar” (I am going to enjoy myself), it means he or she might be enjoying themselves a lot more than you’d normally think!
Here is a track La Vida É P’ra Gozar (Life is to enjoy, or more probably in English we’d say Life is for living) by a Portuguese band I know nothing about, Starlight, from the album Gozar A Vida (Enjoy Life).
You can listen to snippets from other songs on this album (released in 2013, by the looks of it) here.
Let’s see if we can maintain the saucy, spicy theme in other languages…
ROMANIAN: goliciune (feminine) means nudity or nakedness. It has more charm than nuditate, don’t you think? The adjective gol, or goală in the feminine form, means naked or undressed, but also empty, blank or hollow. If you want a more practical G word, though, you could go for grijă is which means care, worry or concern, and is commonly used in this expression: ai grijă de tine – take care (of yourself). fără griji means carefree (literally, without cares).
ITALIAN: While Brazilians are having orgasms and Romanians are getting undressed, what are the Italians up to in this part of the alphabet? OMG you won’t believe this! una gambizzazione is a kneecapping, and gambizzare is to kneecap.
SPANISH: un gorro is a quaint word meaning a cap or bonnet, gorro de cocinero is a chef’s hat, and un gorro de dormir is a nightcap (I prefer the liquid nightcaps, though). I like its use in the slang expressions estar hasta el gorro de, meaning to have had enough of, to be fed up with; and ponerle el gorro a alguien, meaning to annoy or make fun of someone. A closely related word is una gorra, which also means a cap or peaked cap. De gorra is slang meaning free, for nothing, hence entrar de gorra, meaning to gatecrash.
FRENCH: un godelureau is a dandy or popinjay. Obviously a very old-fashioned word. If you want something more modern, how about la gueule, meaning the face or mouth. Here are some useful expressions with this bon mot.
- ferme ta gueule! or simply ta gueule! – shut up! shut your mouth!
- être/avoir une grande gueule – to be/have a big mouth
- avoir de la gueule – to look terrific
- une gueule d’amour – a heart-throb
- une gueule de bois – a hangover
You can find my listings for A-F words under the Quirky vocabulary tab near the top of the page.