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Recently I heard

Não me queres ver nem pintado

so I'm wondering what pintado (painted) means in this context? Is the meaning of pintado like in a painting or does it refer to painted face (makeup), painted nails, painted hair, etc.?

The automatic translation was inconclusive.

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    We also say "Não me queres ver nem pintado de ouro" that translates to "You can't see me even if i'd be painted in gold" (self explanatory :) )
    – Hugo S
    Jan 5 at 16:09
  • You don't want to see me even if I were painted in gold.
    – Lambie
    Jan 19 at 18:58

2 Answers 2

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The idiom não querer/poder ver [someone] nem pintado is a neat equivalent of the English idiom cannot bear the sight of [someone] (The FreeDictionary). It means I cannot stand that person; I dislike or even hate them.

Now, I am a native speaker and I’ve always used that idiom without giving much thought to the exact meaning of pintado. I’ve vaguely interpreted pintado as ’with their faces disguised with paint’. But now that you’ve asked, I looked around, and it looks as though the original idea was that I don’t even want to see a painting of them. Here’s the 1868 Francisco Solano Constâncio’s dictionary (my boldface):

PINTADO […] Não poder ver alguem nem pintado, ter-lhe grande aversão, não lhe querer ver nem a imagem [not even wanting to see their image]

I’ve also found an old variant: não querer/poder ver [someone] nem pintado numa parede, i.e. ’not even painted on a wall’, so again a painting, not paint on one’s face. Here’s from the 1832 Contramina (old spelling):

[…] não inquiete mais os portugueses, que o não soffrem, que o não querem ver nem pintado em huma parede [don't disturb the Portuguese even more, who do not suffer him, who do not want to see him not even painted on a wall]

And an even older example, from the 1712 Sermoens Varios do Padre Simam da Gama. Note the “as they say”, meaning this was an idiom already in those days:

[…] aquelle mesmo que affirma nos traz nas meninas dos olhos, nos naõ pòde ver dos olhos, nem ainda, como dizem, pintado em huma parede [he who avers that he has us in the pupils of his eyes [i.e. ’loves us’] can’t bear the sight of us, not even, as they say, of us painted on a wall]

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  • That's unexpected. I always thought that pintado in the idom meant made pretty, as if paint was put on the person. I believe that's the interpretation the variation «não quero te ver nem pintado de rosa» comes from.
    – Schilive
    Jan 4 at 16:26
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    that's a really nice answer, I'm waiting a bit before accepting it, to see if maybe another answer comes around, thanks
    – Vickel
    Jan 4 at 16:39
  • @Schilive, same here. Except my interpretation was somewhat different. I'd never heard the "pintado de rosa". It goes to show that people keep reinterpreting idioms.
    – Jacinto
    Jan 4 at 16:40
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    @Vickel, that is fine. Glad you liked it. I've learnt something myself!
    – Jacinto
    Jan 4 at 16:44
  • Muito interessante, também não tinha ideia desse significado.
    – Jorge B.
    Jan 7 at 12:32
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The complete original expression is "Não me queres ver nem pintado de ouro" or "Não quero ver ele nem pintado de ouro". It translates to "You can't see me even if i'd be painted with gold" or "I don't want to see him even painted with gold". This means, even with much value added (painted with gold), the person speaking this expression have a huge rejection to even see the other person´s face.

As a native Brazilian speaker I can ensure that "Nao quero ver ele nem pintado" without the "ouro" (gold) word on the end it is pretty rare. Not sure about this usage in Portugal, Angola and other portuguese language countries.

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