Football great ‘Pele’ enters dictionary as adjective for ‘unique’

Pele, arguably the greatest footballer ever, is now an adjective synonymous to ‘exceptional, outstanding, unique’

Popular Portuguese language Michaelis dictionary in Brazil added “pelé” as a new adjective to its online edition.

This development comes after a campaign by the Pelé Foundation, the sports channel SporTV and the Sao Paulo football club Santos to honour the football star pooled more than 125,000 signatures.

For the world’s 265 million-odd Portuguese speakers, “pele” can now be used to denote something or someone extraordinary — the sense in which it is already employed informally in Brazil.

“The expression already used to refer to someone who is the best at what they do has been eternalised on the pages of the dictionary!” the Pele Foundation said on Instagram.

Under the new entry, the word is defined as “exceptional, incomparable, unique” — qualities associated with “The King” of football who died in December at the age of 82.

The online version of the Michaelis also provides useful examples: “He is the pele of basketball… She is the pele of Brazilian drama.”

For now, the word has been included only in the Michaelis online version, though it will be added to printed dictionaries in future.

Pele scored a world record 1,281 goals during his more than two decades playing with Santos (1956-74), the Brazilian national team, and the New York Cosmos (1975-77).



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