Word of the Day

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Office boy

Office boy is an Anglicism widely used in Brazil. Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary calls it old-fashioned. Google NGram shows it achieved its highest popularity in the 1920s and from the 1940s it started dropping. Interestingly, office boy, along with moto, a shortening of motocicleta, motorcycle, has produced offspring in Brazil, such as motoboy, not entirely Portuguese and not exactly English either. A motoboy is a motorcycle messenger or a motorcycle taxi driver. Funny enough, most of these motoboys are no boys at all, since the required minimum age for riding motorcycles in Brazil is 18. I have even ridden with 50-odd-year-old men.

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