My understanding of diminutives is to "simply add a -inho(a) to any word to make it smaller or cuter" -- more or less.

My question resolves around two specific, every day words:

calça and camisa

Many times I have, out of (improper) habits, attempted to use the diminutive of these words, only to stop myself as I am well aware of their (at least in Brazil) meanings.

So, if the diminutive of calça is not calcinha, what is it?

If the diminutive of camisa is not camisinha, what is it?

1 Answer 1


Well, these days the word "camisinha", as a popular synonym for "condom", has come to be used so often that some people just forget it can also mean "a small shirt". Whilst it may be ambiguous at times, context is everything. Most people prefer to avoid it altogether and say "uma camisa pequena", though. There are times, however, when you have to use "camisinha" for a small shirt: "camisinha de pagão" is an example and there is no ambiguity. It's a small shirt for a newborn baby or an infant. Then again, "calcinha" would never be used as a diminutive for "calças" (trousers) and it always means panties. I might refer to small trousers as "calças pequenas" or "calças curtas" if it were the case.

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    @Centauros, thanks for the answer! This is how I usually solve the problem - calças pequenas and uma camisa pequena to avoid ambiguity. I was hoping there was something more, but seems like this is the solid answer. Thanks! Sep 14, 2015 at 16:05
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    @brazilianldsjaguar um conselho, não aceites a resposta tão rápido, isso faz com que outros utilizadores deixem de responder. Eu costumo esperar um ou dois dias para aceitar.
    – Jorge B.
    Sep 14, 2015 at 16:07
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    conselho aceito ;) Sep 14, 2015 at 16:08
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    @James we use "cuecas" for both. But for panties, we sometimes also use "cuequinhas".
    – ANeves
    Sep 14, 2015 at 17:48
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    Sometimes I think @JorgeB and I live in different Portugals. I've heard camisinha used as condom. And Dicionário da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa has it too, and not marked as Brazillianism. But why would you need a camisa pequena? For little children? Would people laugh at you if you asked in a clothes shop for "uma camisinha para um menino de 5 anos?" Or would they say, "Mas que precoce!?"
    – Jacinto
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:56

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