I was given my Capoeira apelido (nickname), Malungo, today by my instructor, Gaucho. This is a tradition in Capoeira dating back to when it was illegal in Brazil and the capoeiristas (Capoeira practitioners) adopted nicknames to make it more difficult for police to discover their true identities. The nickname is picked by the instructor and is usually based on the capoeiristas personality and how they play in the roda, but can also be picked for a bit of fun, e.g. Alex was given the nickname Polegar, which means “thumb” in Brazilian Portuguese, possibly because he is the only child in the class and “sticks out like a sore thumb“.

The following is the best I can find in relation to the meaning of Malungo:

Slene notes that the philologist Macedo Soares gave as a definition of “malungo”in 1880 (in Portuguese):

“companheiro, patricio, da mesma regiao, que veio no mesmo comboio parceiro da mesma laia, camarada, parente.”

(translated: companion, fellow countryman, from the same region, who travels on the same conveyance, from the same background, comrade, relative).

Soares cites a 1779 Portuguese dictionary with the example, “Malungo, meu malungo…chama o preto a outro cativo que veio com ele na mesma embaracao”…

which is translated (Malungo, my malungo…the black calls another captive who came with him on the same ship)