I came across this question on Yahoo where the answerer claims that the expression 手取り足取り is based on a Portuguese phrase, transliterated as テトゥーリァ・シトル and supposedly meaning "to describe in great detail". Is there any evidence for this? If so, how is the original phrase spelled?

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    There is at least a counter-evidence. This twitter account is keeping posting obviously fake trivia, and its tweets include this one. – naruto Sep 26 '18 at 16:39
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    I must say 知恵袋 is full of fake facts because it has no way to downvote or correct wrong answers like on this site. And the system allows users to gain many scores only by posting many short and wrong answers... You should take everything written there with a grain of salt. – naruto Sep 26 '18 at 16:54

Research: Portuguese

I'm not fluent by any means, but I am somewhat familiar with Portuguese. Try as I might, I cannot find a likely match for the purported Portuguese source expression. The closest match for the テトゥーリァ portion would seem to be tutelar ("to guard or protect; to tutor", entry on the Portuguese Wiktionary), but the vowel order is wrong, and none of the conjugated forms match either. Nor can I find any likely match for シトル.

Research: Japanese

Reputable and comprehensive Japanese dictionaries, such as Shogakukan's 国語大辞典 which gives extensive etymologies where available, make no mention of any Portuguese derivation. A purely-Japanese derivation also makes sense in this case, unlike in cases such as 天婦羅【てんぷら】 (in part from Portuguese temperar, "to season", cognate with English "temper", and in part from Portuguese têmpora, "Ember Days", a Catholic holiday when red meat is avoided, cognate with English "temporary") or 金平糖【こんぺいとう】 (from Portuguese confeito, cognate with English "confetti"), etc. etc.


Considering the lack of any sourcing, the lack of any apparent matches in Portuguese, the Japanese-only derivations mentioned in dictionaries, and the additional indications of bogosity pointed out by naruto, I will tentatively call "bullshit" on the Yahoo thread.


I know zero Japanese, so please do not take this as an authoritative answer, but I am Portuguese, so thought I could try to help.

Google Translate says https://translate.google.com/#auto/pt/%E3%83%86%E3%83%88%E3%82%A5%E3%83%BC%E3%83%AA%E3%82%A1%E3%83%BB%E3%82%B7%E3%83%88%E3%83%AB

"Teto~ūri~a shitoru": the first word is close to the Portuguese "tutorial", which is the same word in English "tutorial", as in a step of steps explaining a certain procedure. Maybe that is what you were looking for?

I hope this helps.

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