Exactly 100 years ago, Portugal entered the Great War. The declaration of war “official” at the end of a rainy afternoon on March 9th, 1916, when the German Diplomat Friedrich Rosen, delivered an urgent communication from their emperor to the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Soares.
Between Germany declaring war on Portugal and the end of World War I in 1918, the year of the Battle of the Lys, the Portuguese troops spent more than 700 days in the trenches. Some 12,000 never came home. It was there that some great expressions – that they still currently use – were created. Here is a list of the Portuguese expressions, born in the trenches between 1916 and 1918:
“Balázio” – shotgun or machine gun bullet;
“Bife” – Portuguese nickname for the English, from the word BEF (British Expeditionary Force);
“Camone” – another Portuguese nickname for the English, which from the expression “come on” used to call the Portuguese to the front;
“Cavar” – it was used when in the trenches the soldiers were living a bombing; it means to walk away;
“Gosma” – Simulate disease or any other con in order to avoid doing a task;
“Ir aos arames” – reference to cut the barbed wire in war field; it means a dangerous or impossible mission;
“Lãzudo” – Peasants turned into soldiers without knowing the reason;
“Luísa” - Lewis Sola Machine Gun - hard meat "as the sole of the shoe";
“Moles” – First-line Soldiers that lived in underground shelters.