Cor de laranja, but cor-de-rosa

Is there a reason why one is hypenated and the other isn’t?

Thanks in advance for all the great explanations, lovely PP people :grinning:

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Following this thread, as I also have no clue… :thinking:

Great question, but unfortunately, I have no great answer. Our recent spelling reform (Acordo Ortográfico) did away with lots of hyphens, but “cor-de-rosa” is considered an exception and was allowed to keep them in its spelling. You can confirm it here (in Portuguese):

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Thanks @Joseph. It’s interesting how languages do things without really knowing why. I guess that’s what makes them so interesting and lovable!

If I’m not mistaken @Joseph, the same goes for “couves-de-bruxelas” (Brussels sprouts).

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Yes, that’s true. All animal and plant species with compound names, such as couve-de-Bruxelas or viúva-negra (black widow spider) continue to be spelled with hyphens (no change from the previous Acordo).


Now I’m looking out for hyphenated nouns, I’m seeing lots more!
Here are three I’ve spotted in the last couple of days:

o arco-íris (rainbow)
a meia-idade (middle age)
o rabo-de-cavalo (pony tail)

Oh, yes, we do have a few and we had many more in the past. Note that rabo de cavalo is now written without hyphens, though, unless you’re referring to a plant species (apparently, that’s also a thing, I had no idea before).

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Wow, complexity upon complexity! LOL

Thanks, @Joseph. The textbook I got it from says that it uses the new spellings and rabo-de-cavalo was in a section about describing people. If the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa can occasionally make a mistake in its books, I guess that only goes to show that there is confusion even at the highest levels.

As a bewildered learner, I find that strangely comforting! :wink:

There is definitely confusion at all levels. The implementation of the Acordo hasn’t been entirely smooth and we still have dictionaries/reference books that disagree with each other occasionally! In this case, I would still go with no hyphen for “rabo de cavalo”. The Acordo is rather clear when it proposes dismissing them for as many compound nouns as possible.

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