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If you want to develop your fluency in Brazilian Portuguese, it’s not enough to just memorize the Portuguese common words and phrases, you need to learn Brazilian slang phrases as well.
Learning slang is essential in order to be able to carry on daily conversations with native speakers.
Someone who has grown up speaking Brazilian Portuguese will use the following words and phrases almost automatically so you are bound to encounter them every day. You should learn what these phrases mean and how and when to use them.
English equivalent: What’s up?
This is probably the most common Brazilian slang phrase there is. It’s a casual greeting that Brazilians use in all sorts of circumstances.
When you hear a Brazilian Portuguese speaker use this phrase, they are saying “hi” and “how are you”.
English equivalent: Do you agree?/I agree
This Brazilian phrase is commonly used in two ways: To ask if someone agrees or to express agreement.
For example, if someone ends a conversation with an interrogative “Tá bom?”, they are asking you if you agree with what they just said. You can then answer them by saying “Tá bom.” When you do this, you are saying that, yes, you do agree.
Ben: So we’re going to meet at the coffee shop before the move, tá bom?
You: Tá bom.
If you mean to say that you agree with something, you can also simply say “tá”.
Meaning: All good?/All good.
The literal translation of this phrase is “all jewelry”, but it is used by Brazilian speakers the same way that English speakers might use “all good”. It is usually used both as an informal greeting and a way to answer the question “how are you?”
“Tudo jóia?” may be used by your Brazilian friend to greet you. If so, you can then say “Tudo jóia.” back, but make it a sentence, not a question.
English equivalent: You’re joking.
This is a handy phrase that you can use in daily conversation. You can use this either as a question or as a sentence.
You say this is if you think that someone is telling a joke or exaggerating. You are expressing astonishment and amusement.
English equivalent: Marvelous.
If a Brazilian speaker is pleased with someone or something, they may use this slang exclamation.
English equivalent: That’s awesome!
This is another Brazilian slang phrase that may be uttered if someone is pleased. “Bacana” translates to “good” or “awesome”.
English equivalent: A sarcastic “wonderful”
“Beleza” translates to “beauty” and is a slang word to mean something is “cool”. However, Brazilians will say the phrase “que beleza” sarcastically to express displeasure over something or to state that they were not impressed or that something was “not cool”.
English equivalent: My bad.
If you made a minor error or blunder, you can say this phrase to acknowledge that you did something “wrong”. Remember, this is meant for minor errors and is not really the equivalent of a proper apology if you made a major mistake.
English equivalent: hard-head
This is what a Brazilian Portuguese speaker would use to describe someone very stubborn. It can also indicate someone who doesn’t like and is unwilling to change.
English equivalent: Scrooge
The literal translation of this is “hard-bread” and it is used to describe someone who is very frugal. It’s not very flattering as it’s not just implying that the person knows how to budget but rather is stingy and miserly, a scrooge.
English equivalent: Made a mess of things
The literal translation of this is “stepping on the ball” and it is used to express disappointment in someone’s performance. So if someone says this, they are saying that the person they are referring to “messed up” or let them down.
English equivalent: Ugly
This rather long Brazilian phrase is a slang way of saying that someone is ugly or unattractive. The literal translation is rather funny as it states that “it’s like the dog sucking on a mango”.
English equivalent: I don’t care
This Brazilian slang phrase is used to express indifference to what people think. It can also imply that you are willing to do something regardless of the consequences.
English equivalent: Cool
You will hear a Brazilian say this to express pleasure over something. They will also use this if they think that something is nice or “cool”. They might also use this to express pleasing agreement with something that you have said.
English equivalent: Big problem
When someone uses this phrase, they are saying that they are troubled. The literal translation is something like “knot blind” or “dead knot”.
English equivalent: Kid
This is usually used in one of three ways: when referring to a child, when talking about someone young, when talking about someone mischievous.
You say “moleque” if you are referring to a male. If you are talking about a female, you say “moleca”.
English equivalent: My god!
This Brazilian phrase is an exclamation of surprise or astonishment.
English equivalent: Our Lady!
This phrase is a reference to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. It is an exclamation used to express surprise.
English equivalent: God of Heaven!
Another exclamation of surprise.
English equivalent: Hail Mary!
Another exclamation of surprise or astonishment is a reference to Mary.
English equivalent: Working hard
The literal translation of this is “to grate” but it is used as a slang term to say that you are working or have been working hard.
English equivalent: Cash
This is Brazilian slang for money, which is “dinheiro” in Portuguese.
English equivalent: I’m fine
This translates to “tranquil” and is used as a slang way to say that one is “fine”. It can also be used to tell someone to “keep calm”.
English equivalent: Good looking
The literal translation of this Portuguese word is “cat”, but Brazilian Portuguese speakers also use it to say that someone is attractive or good looking.
A “gato” is an attractive man, while a “gata” is an attractive woman.
English equivalent: Thanks
This is a casual way to say “thank you” that is used by Brazilian Portuguese speakers. It comes from the verb “valer” which means “to have worth”.
English equivalent: Cool
You will hear this word from Brazilians if they want to say that something is “cool” or “great”. They use it to express pleasure or approval over someone or something.
English equivalent: Am okay with it
This phrase literally translates to “it gives equal” and is used when you are slightly indifferent to something or don’t have a strong opinion. For example, if someone asks if you like Chinese food, and you don’t hate it or love it, you can say “de igual”.
English equivalent: Annoying
This is a funny bit of Brazilian slang. While the literal meaning is “suitcase”, the slang meaning is “annoying person”.
English equivalent: Okay
This bit of Brazilian slang is derived from the verb “falar” which means “to speak”. It is used to express agreement and is the equivalent to the English expression “okay”.
English equivalent: Let’s go
This is another bit of Brazilian slang that is derived from a verb. “Rolar” means “to roll” and a Brazilian Portuguese speaker will use this to say that it is time to go. It is similar to the English expression “let’s roll”.
While European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese are very similar, there are some differences. Most of these differences come into play when you are having daily conversations with native speakers.
Brazilian Portuguese speakers will use slang words and phrases as well as idioms that European Portuguese speakers might be unfamiliar with. This is why it’s important if you are going to be traveling to Brazil, you make sure that you specify to your online tutor that you want to learn Brazilian Portuguese.
A good native-speaking Brazilian Portuguese tutor will be able to help you learn Brazilian slang and expressions so that you can better participate in ordinary, everyday conversations. To get you started, we recommend that you download this PDF of Brazilian slang phrases and go through them with your tutor.
Falar? Rolar, let’s start developing your Brazilian Portuguese fluency.
E ai - What’s up, Ta boma - Do you agree, Tudo joia - All good, Fala serio - You're joking, Lindo maravilhos - Marvelous
A sarcastic “wonderful” Beleza translates to beauty and is a slang word to mean something is cool. However, Brazilians will say the phrase que beleza sarcastically to express displeasure over something or to state that they were not impressed or that something was not cool.
It means My god. This Brazilian phrase is an exclamation of surprise or astonishment.
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