Monday, 4 November 2013

The etymology of São Paulo’s neighbourhoods

What is the origin of your neighbourhood’s name? 

Below is a quick and dirty list of some São Paulo districts and where their names come from:

Bixiga (Bela Vista)
The saying goes that an infection of the bladder ("bexiga" in Portuguese) was common in the farmland area of Bela Vista in in the late nineteenth century and residents were labelled Bixigas as a pejorative term. Another possibility is that an Italian resident known for drinking heavily at the bars and taverns of Bela Vista, had a belly as round and big as a party balloon (which is also called "bexiga" in Portuguese), so, the area was nicknamed after him.

Ipiranga comes from the indigenous language Tupi. It means red river which is the colour the rivers take when containing a lot of the local red coloured earth.

Itaim Bibi the portuguese word bebê (baby) was adapted to Bibi by slaves referring to the son of famous doctor Leopoldo Couto Magalhães. Magalhães was also the owner of the Chácara Itaí. Hence th eneighbourhood name Itai(m) Bibi.

Jardins means gardens in Portuguese not many of which seem to have survived the passage of time.

Moema is a reference to a chracter in the poem Caramuru by Santa Rita Durão

Perdizes - Joaquim Alves was one of the better own breeders of partridges (perdizes) who live din the area at the end of the 19th century. He lived in what is now known as Largo Padre Péricles. Hence the área became known as Campo de Perdizes (partridge fields) and later simply Perdizes.

Pinheiros literally means pine trees and this because the land which this neighbourhood occupies used to be an area of dense forest which contained a Brazilian subtropical species of pine, Araucaria angustifolia, which incidentally is very common in Curitiba and is the symbol of Paraná state.

Tatuapé is another Tupi name meaning the path (apé) of the armadillos (tatu). 

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