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Brazilian dictionary adds pele as an adjective, synonym "the best"

Examining Pele’s incredible legacy

Examining the incredible legacy of Brazilian football legend Pele


A Brazilian dictionary added “pele” as an adjective to use when describing someone “extraordinary, incomparable, unique.”

Michaelis’ dictionary announcement on Wednesday is part of a campaign that has gathered more than 125,000 signatures to honor the late soccer great’s impact outside of the game.

Three-time World Cup champion has died in December at the age of 82 after a battle with colon cancer.

The dictionary entry reads: “One who is extraordinary, or who cannot be matched by anything or anyone because of his quality, value, or excellence, as in Pele; nicknamed Edson Arantes do Nascimento (1940–2022), considered the greatest sportsman of all time; exceptional , incomparable, unique. Examples: He’s the Pele of basketball, he’s the Pele of tennis, he’s the Pele of Brazilian theater, he’s the Pele of medicine.”

King is officially in the dictionary!

If he gets basketball. He is the skin of tennis. The expression that was already used to mean the best in what you do is eternal in the pages of the dictionary! Together we made history and named the king of football in our language… pic.twitter.com/Yy5RwWjq8J

— Pele (@Pele) April 26, 2023

The Pele Foundation, Santos FC – where he played for most of his career – and many Brazilians celebrated the decision by the publishers of one of the country’s most popular dictionaries.

Pele’s social media channels said after the announcement, “The expression that was already used to mean the best in something is already eternal in the pages of the dictionary. “Together we made history and named the king of soccer in Portuguese. Pele means ‘the best’.”

Pele playing for Brazil in 1958.

Pele playing for Brazil in 1958.

Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Pele dazzled fans and glitterati as the game’s most successful scorer for nearly two decades with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team. In conversations about football’s greatest, only the late Diego Maradona is mentioned alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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