1. a croquette
2. a Bolsonaro supporter
ko ˈsʃi nja
Brazil has experienced a sequence of left-right tussles that led first to military dictatorship, then the rise of a militant Workers’ Party that captured the presidency and was later accused of looting the state. Finally, in 2018, Brazil elected a right-wing populist president: Jair Bolsonaro.
The upheavals have at least generated some interesting slang. In Brazil a coxinha is a popular snack akin to a croquette, usually shredded chicken in a doughy wrapping, which is shaped into a tear-drop before being deep fried. It’s the kind of thing that busy Brazilians eat when on the go.
These days, though, the term coxinha is often uttered with disgust: it is a derisive slang for a Bolsonaro supporter.
The term may have come from working-class police officers who are known for protecting São Paulo’s lanchonetes, quick-meal stops, from fellow working-class youth whom the restaurant-owners feared. The cops were given free coxinhas and coffee for their trouble, leading the fleeing youngsters to holler “coxinha!” at the police. It would be a bit like calling an American cop a “doughnut”. From there the word came to apply to working class and arriviste right-wingers more generally – those who identified with the richer classes even if they didn’t belong. It’s a term of abuse, with bite.