Aurélio Buarque de Holanda
Ferreira (May 3, 1910 – February 28, 1989) was a Brazilian lexicographer,
philologist, translator, and writer,
best known for editing the Novo Dicionário
da Língua Portuguesa, a major dictionary of the Portuguese language.
His family name was originally spelled Hollanda
but was changed to Holanda
, presumably to follow
the Portuguese spelling
reform of 1943
was born in Passo de
Camaragibe, Alagoas state,
Brazil. In 1923 he moved to the state capital
Maceió, where, at
only 14 years of age, he gave private lessons of Portuguese
One year later he became a first-grade teacher at
the local high school Ginásio
Primeiro de Março
In 1936 obtained a law degree
Recife Law School
, and in that same year he
started teaching French
Portuguese grammar, as well as Brazilian
and Portuguese Literature
, at the Alagoas State High
in Maceió. In 1937–1938 he also served as director of
the Maceió City
In 1938 he
moved to the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he taught Brazilian and Portuguese
Literature at elite secondary schools
including the public Pedro II High School
and the private Anglo-American High
It was in Rio that he has started his career as a writer, by
publishing articles, tales and chronicles in the local press.
Bewtween 1939 and 1943, he was acting secretary of the magazine
Revista do Brasil
Aurélio started his career as a lexicographer in 1941, as a
collaborator of the Pequeno
Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa
. In 1942 he published a
book of short stories, Dois
("Two Worlds"), which earned him a prize by the
. In 1943 he collaborated with the Dicionário
sponsored by the Brazilian Book Institute
In 1945 he
took part in the First Brazilian Writers Conference in São
Between 1944 and 1949 he was a member of
the Brazilian Writers
(Rio de Janeiro branch).
In 1945 he married Marina Baird
whom he would have two children — Aurélio and Maria Luísa — and
Between 1947 and 1960, Aurélio authored various texts for the
Conto da Semana
("Weekly Tale") section of the newspaper
. Starting in 1950 he also authored the column
Enriqueça o Seu Vocabulário
("Enrich Your Vocabulary") for
the Brazilian edition of Reader's
; these columns were later published as a book.
Between 1954 and 1955 he lectured Brazilian studies
at the Universidad
Nacional Autónoma de México
, on a grant by the Brazilian
He was elected a member of the Brazilian Literary Academy on
inaugurated on December 18
, taking over seat number 30, formerly of Antônio Austregésilo
Inspired by his love of the Portuguese language
, he decided to
produce his own dictionary
. After several
years of work, in 1975 he published the Novo Dicionário da
which would be for many decades the
reference lexicon in Brazil — to the point that Aurélio
("big Aurélio") became popular synonyms of
dictionary. (It is said that his collaborators once proposed to add
that entry to the dictionary, but Aurélio vetoed it.) This book
went through dozens of reprints and revisions, and spawned several
was also member of the Brazilian Academy of
Philology, of the Pen Clube do
Brasil (the Brazilian section of the International Writers
Association), the Brazilian Folklore
Commission, the Alagoas Literary Academy, the
Historical and Geographical Institute, and the Hispanic Society
- Dois Mundos (1942).
- O Romance Brasileiro de 1752 a 1930, a survey of
Brazilian novels (1952).
- Enriqueça o Seu Vocabulário, collected columns from
Seleções do Reader's Digest (1958).
- Território Lírico, essays on poetry (1958).
- Vocabulário Ortográfico Brasileiro (1969).
- O Chapéu de Meu Pai, revised and condensed edition of
Dois Mundos, (1974).
- Novo Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa, nicknamed
- Minidicionário da Língua Portuguesa, nicknamed
- Dicionário Aurélio Infantil da Língua Portuguesa, a
children's dictionary, with illustrations by Ziraldo (1989).
Articles and essays
- Linguagem e Estilo de Eça de
Queirós, essay on Portuguese writer Eça de
Queiroz; in Livro do Centenário de Eça de Queirós
- Enriqueça o Seu Vocabulário, monthly columns in
Seleções do Reader's Digest (1950–1958).
Translations and critical editions
- Mar de Histórias, with Paulo Rónai, an anthology of tales from the
world's literature; volume I (1945), volume II (1951), volume III
(1958), volume IV (1963), volume V (1981).
- Poemas de Amor, love poems by Amaru.
- Pequenos Poemas em Prova, poems by Charles Baudelaire.
- Contos Gauchescos e Lendas do Sul, tales about
Southern Brazil by Simões Lopes
- Roteiro Literário do Brasil e de Portugal, with Álvaro
Lins, an anthology of Portuguese-language literature (1956).
- Biography at the Brazilian Literary Academy site.