Panelinha, a Machadian Invention: For Those Who Thought I Was Kidding

In one of the recent posts , I said that the term “panelinha” with the connotation of a gathering of select people (pejorative or not) was coined by Machado de Assis.

I recognize that, by not citing sources, he looked like a trout.

For those who doubted it, the Silver Panel is mentioned in Machado de Assis’s epistolary (the epistolary is not a set of pistols, but letters, smart ass):

All the other lunches at “Panelinha” will be good, but I didn’t want to miss the first one. Furthermore, it could be that the guests were scarce and it was a bad introduction; Fortunately no. (In a letter to Lúcio Mendonça, 11 July 1900).

And still:

A few days ago I met Epitacio, I spoke to him in passing about the project, but there is no intimacy between us, and we were with other people. So far I’ve done what I could, and found goodwill in both chambers. / As for lunch, I don’t know; the admiral is now at the School. Hopefully notice, which can still be received this week, or next. In any case, the clique will be fixed (sic) (In a letter also to Lúcio Mendonça, of November 28, 1900).


Here is good prose with emotion and sincerity. / The Academy thanks its founder for the new book and is waiting for us to do some necessary sessions. See you soon, until the first lunch of “Panelinha”. / Relieve this letter; she was never pretty: age is making her loathsome. (In a letter to Lúcio Mendonça, of April 2, 1901)

And, quoting a newspaper of the time:

My dear Lucius. / According to what V. told me to remind me, we are going to restart lunch at “Panelinha”, Sunday, 5, at Globo. I’ve already told some friends. Valentine was upset yesterday, I don’t know if he will; and Filinto de Almeida told me that the day is destined for something else. It’s good to remind friends you meet. / Until then. / All yours / M. DE ASSIS.

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