Madrugadores (Early Risers)

Are you a madrugador?


I used to be, but now I’m more of a dormilón and a trasnochador.

Madrugador [ma.ð̞ɾu.ɣ̞aˈð̞oɾ] is a Spanish (and Portuguese) word that means an early riser, early bird or morning person, and as an adjective it means rising or waking early. [source].

Madrugador comes from madrugar (to get up early), from Vulgar Latin *mātūricāre (to wake up early), from Latin matūro (to ripen, mature, hasten, rush), from mātūrus (mature, ripe, early, soon), from Proto-Italic *mātus (ripeness) from the PIE *meh₂- (to ripen, to mature) [source].

Sometimes you can pack a lot of meaning into one word in Spanish, for example, madrugaba (I/he/she/it used to get up early) and madrugadores madrugaban (early risers used to rise early).

Related words include madrugada (dawn, early hours of the morning, before dawn) and madrugón (early riser, early bird, early start).

Words with similar meanings include tempranero (early, early-rising, early riser) [source] and mañanero (early rising, morning, early riser) [source].

How would you say early riser in other languages?

By the way, there’s a novel by Jasper Fforde called Early Riser that I would recommend.

If you’re a late riser, like me, then you’re a dormilón, which should not be confused with dormilona (reclining chair, nightgown), and if you stay up late, you could be described as a trasnochador (night owl, night bird) or a noctámbulo (active at night, sleepwalker, night owl) [source].

Are there interesting equivalents of late riser or night owl in other languages?

The English words mature and maturate (to ripen, bring to ripeness or maturity) come from the same Latin roots [source].

Apparently a quien madruga, Dios le ayuda (“God helps those who rise early”) or in other words the early bird gets the worm [source].

How would you say that in other languages?

Alternatively, you could say no por mucho madrugar, amanece más temprano (“getting up earlier won’t make the sun rise sooner”) or in other words things will happen at their own time, you can’t rush art [source].

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2 thoughts on “Madrugadores (Early Risers)

  1. In Finnish, aamuihminen (morning person) and aamunvirkku/aamuvirkku (morning fresh) are the opposites of iltaihminen (evening person) and illanvirkku/iltavirkku (evening fresh). Aamuntorkku (morning sleeper) contrasts illantorkku (evening sleeper). There’s a saying “Illan virkku, aamun torkku – se tapa talon hävittää” (Awake in the night, asleep in the morning – that’s the way to bring down a house) and its opposite “Aamun virkku, illan torkku – se tapa talon pitää” (Awake in the morning, asleep in the night, that’s the way to keep a house). We also have the saying about the early bird, aikainen lintu madon nappaa.

    In Japanese, you can refer to pulling an all-nighter, or staying up all night, as オール ooru, from オールナイト oorunaito (from English all night).

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