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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, 2020 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, 2020 at 0:07
  • @Pedro, editei o teu link para o reduzir e de lá tirar as informações de tracking, modelo, etc.
    – ANeves
    Mar 31, 2020 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, 2020 at 8:50

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