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The coccinellid family of insects are known in British English as "ladybirds", in reference to the Virgin Mary who is also referred to in names used in a number of other languages. In Portuguese a popular name for these insects is "joaninhas".

What is the origin of this name?

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  • Really good question. I'm looking forward to seeing the answer. – bad_coder Mar 29 '20 at 15:54
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    According to a text in the magazine Língua Portuguesa (Volume 2, Edition 26), the origin is unknown (see here). Unfortunately, it seems that the complete text is not available online – Pedro Mar 30 '20 at 0:07
  • @Pedro, editei o teu link para o reduzir e de lá tirar as informações de tracking, modelo, etc. – ANeves thinks SE is evil Mar 31 '20 at 16:19
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I think its etymology is lost in time! It is cognate with galician xoaniña. Someone (galician-portuguese) probably thought it was a good idea to call the insect "Little Joanne".

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    +1 for spotting the cognate, and because it's with Galician-Portuguese. – bad_coder Mar 30 '20 at 8:50

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