Brazilian Portuguese Slang
Brazilian Portuguese is quite a complex language as those of you know who have tried to tackle it before.
I have made some lists of Brazilian Portuguese slang (Gírias) before, but this post will deal specifically with idiosyncratic expressions and colloquialisms in Brazilian Portuguese, basically things that won’t be found in a Portuguese language book. I’ll be giving examples with most.
Já é is an affirmation. It means “alright” “done.” “let’s go”
- Fala aê doido, vamos bater uma pelada hoje? - (hey man, let’s play some ball today?)
- já é! (let’s go!)
e nois literally means “it’s us” but in Brazilian Portuguese slang it is used as a confirmation. It’s also used to affirm unity, like “lets do this together” – “é nóis!“
The expression “é nóis na fita” is a variation of é nóis that means the same thing. It’s used most commonly when accepting to go somewhere:
- Vamos lá naquele bar? (Let’s go to that bar?)
- É nóis na fita! (Let’s do it!)
vai! – (meaning he/she/it goes), but as a tag, it means ‘c’mon’ (come on), will you? won’t you?
- Ex. Fala sério, vai! (Get serious, c’mon!)
‘Vai’ can be also used as ‘vamo logo’ or ‘bora!’ (vamos embora), both mean ‘come on’.
hein? – it can equate to huh, but I feel that isn’t good enough. Perhaps admiration is better.
- Ex. Tá bonita, hein? (You are looking good, huh)
eu, hein? – it also means c’mon but can be used as a term of surprise like ‘what a question!’ or ‘what a thing to do!’
- Ex. Caramba, acordei as 5:30 da manhã hoje!! (Wow, I woke up at 5:30 in the morning today!)
- Eu, hein! (what a thing to do!)
né? – contraction of não é? (isn’t it?). Very much in popular use, so much so that its used improperly.
- Ex. Você é inteligente, né? (You are smart, aren’t you?)
- Ex. of Misuse – Você mora longe, né? (You live far, don’t you?) (Instead of Você mora longe, não mora?)
né isso? – the expression above accompanied with ‘this’ (also commonly used as ‘that’). Confirmation. You could also say “certo.”
- Ex. Ele me deve $10 reais, né isso? (He owes me $10 reals, isn’t that right?)
tá bom / tá bom? – literally ‘ok, good,’ but used as ‘you got it?’ or ‘okay??’ with emphasis.
- Ex. Não gaste todo seu dinheiro em doces, tá bom? (Don’t spend all your money on candy, okay??)
Tá bom is also commonly followed by an “então.” “Então tá, bom” or “tá, bom Então” – “alright then”
To say “OK” or “I got it” in Brazilian Portuguese, you can also just say “tá.”
ué / uai
Ué – difficult to explain, the closest I can get is ‘what do you mean?’ See a full explination of “uai” here.
- Ex. Meus sapatos estão sujos! Eu não posso usá-los hoje! (My shoes are dirty! I can’t wear them today!)
- Ué! Usa chinelos! (What do you mean? Wear your flip-flops then!)
pois é – this can denote a change of subject is needed. Also when there isn’t much to add to the conversation or to what the other person just said. Like ‘you said it…’ ‘oh well…’ ‘guess so…’ or ‘for real….’
- Ex. Acho que vai chover amanhã. (I think it’s going to rain tomorrow)
- Pois é…bem, vou dar uma mergulhada (Guess so…well, I’m going to take a dip/dive)
pode crer - literally ‘you can believe it’ but also used in slang as ‘cool,’ ‘word’ ‘look at you!’ or ‘not bad!’
- Ex. Ontem passei o dia todo na praia! (Yesterday I spent the whole day on the beach!)
- Pode crer! (Look at you!)
ainda bem – thank goodness, at least its good (that)
- Ex. Eu não falo inglês muito bem, mas ele, ainda bem que ele fala português…assim que a gente pode se entender. (I don’t speak English that well, but him, thank goodness he speaks Portuguese…that way we can understand each other).
credo! – ew! or gross! its a sign of disgust or nausea. Literally it means creed. (‘Aff’ is its onomonopia)
- Ex. Aquele bêbado apareceu do nada ontem a noite! (That drunk guy came out of nowhere last night!)
- Aff, credo! (ew, gross)
qual é? – what’s it with you? what’s your problem? literally ‘which is it?’
qual é can also mean “whatsup” if you are greeting friends in Portuguese
já pensou? - have you already thought about it? but more widely used as ‘can you imagine?’
não dá – there’s no way, it’s not gonna happen, it can’t be done, it doesn’t work. Lit. It doesn’t give.
- Ex. Ela tem namorado, cara…assim não dá. (She has a boyfriend, dude…there’s no way)
quem dera - if only!, what I’d give for that to happen!
To use “quem dera,” follow this sentence structure : “Quem dera” + imperfect subjunctive or personal infinitive. For example…
- “Quem dera isso acontecesse/acontecer” (If only this would happen.)
- “Quem dera eu ganhasse/ganhar na Mega-Sena” (If only I would win the lottery (Mega-Sena))
To express hope in Brazilian Portuguese, you could also use the phrase ”tomara que” – “I/we hope” in witch case the structure would be: “Tomara que” + present or personal subjunctive.
- “Tomara que não chova hoje.” (I hope it doesn’t rain today.)
- “Tomara que ele não tenha feito nada de errado.” (I hope he didn’t do anything wrong.)
até parece – yeah, right! yeah, whenever that happens!
tipo or tipo assim – used to give examples, meaning ‘like’ or ‘like this’
- Ex. Você não entendeu? Bem, é tipo assim, a gente estava andando… (You didn’t get it? Well, it’s like this, we were walking…)
…Tipo assim is used ad nauseum in Brazilian Portuguese.
vou nessa – I’m out of here! I’m leaving! I got to go!
you could also use the Portuguese slang “vou vazar” – literally meaning “i’m going to leak” but it’s used to mean “i’m gonna head out” or “i’m leaving”
“deixa pra lá”
deixa pra lá – nevermind, let it be! forget about it! put it behind us/you
- Ex. Você não entendeu? Então deixa pra lá (You didn’t get it? Then let it be!)
“você que sabe”
você que sabe (usually shortened to “cê que sabe”) – you are the one that knows best, you decide
se liga! – get with it! get connected! pay attention!
- Ex. Se liga na parada meu irmão (Get with the program dude.)
Tanto faz – Tanto faz means ‘its all the same’ – it’s usually used in response to a question like “what do you want to do,” when you don’t want to give an opinion.
you can also say: dá no mesmo – meaning, “its all the same”
mesmo assim – even so, even like this
como assim? – how so? what do you mean? loosely, can you explain?
na mosca! – you got it! exactly! you hit it right on the head! Sometimes preceded with the verb ‘acertar’ (to get something right)
“peraí”, “já volto”, “calma aí”
Peraí vs Já volto vs Calma aí – Peraí is a contraction of ‘espera aí’ meaning ‘wait there’ or ‘wait a second’. Já volto means literally ‘I already return’, basically I’ll be right back. Calma (aí) is used not to mean ‘calm down’ per se, but more so to say ‘just a second’.
Sei lá is extremely common in Brazilian Portuguese, it’s the slang way of saying “I don’t know.”
Sei lá vs Eu não sei vs Quem sabe - Sei lá is literally ‘I know there’, basically ‘I don’t know’ and sometimes carries the added conotation of ‘who cares?’ or ‘I have no idea’. Eu não sei is very basic meaning ‘I don’t know.’ Quem sabe? is just as basic meaning ‘who knows?’
Literally translated as “already was,” this Brazilian Portuguese slang means “too late” or “the time has passed (to do something, for example).” Synonyms for Já era could be : acabou, terminou, finalizou, morreu, caputi etc.
fazer o que?
This is the kind of phrase where you would shrug your shoulders and sigh simultaneously while saying it. It means “what are you gonna do?” speaking generally about a situation. It’s usually said: “fazer o que, né. This phrase is similar in meaning to Pois é except that it expresses a sense of acceptance or giving up.
- -Tirou zero na prova? (You got a zero on your test?)
- -Fazer oque né? Não estudei (What is one to do? I didn’t study)
queimar meu filme
Literally when you tell someone in Portuguese “queimou meu filme!” it means ”you burned my film / movie!” What this slang actually means is: ”you made me look bad!”
- Você está queimando o meu filme !! Sai fora !! (You’re making me look bad! Go away!)
- Ele queimou o filme dele depois de sucessivos barracos, mas agora quer limpar sua barra. - “He ruined his reputation after successive squabbles, but now he wants to clear up his difficult situation.”