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Get to Know Portuguese Slang

Have you ever noticed how the formal language we learn in school can be different from the way we talk with our friends? Instead of saying, “Hi, nice to meet you”, we may greet a friend by saying, “Hey, whatsup?”. Even though slang gets a bad rep, it’s something most of us can’t avoid.


Portuguese is no different. There’s the formal side and the informal (aka slang) side. If you want to sound like a native speaker, it’s a good idea to learn how to speak informally, like most Portuguese do.


In this article, we’ll go over some of the most common Portuguese slang that you can add to your vocabulary (remember, use them wisely). 


Portuguese Slang


These greetings are good to know when you meet up with your friends or close family members.


E aí!Hey!


Fala, cara!Hey, dude!

Qual é?What’s up? 

Tudo joia? How’s going?

O que você conta? What’s new with you?

Estou! Meaning “I am”, that’s how Portuguese people answer the phone. Brazilians say Alô.


Describing People

It’s normal to use many adjectives to describe the characteristics of different people, but did you know that Portuguese has several slang to do so? Here are some examples:


Cara / Mano / Truta – a man

Minaa woman

Coroa – an old person

Abiscoitadoreckless person

Pancada na molacrazy person

Pentelho seco de velhaworthless person

Bizonhoa sad or quiet person

Abestadosilly person

Zé ruelastupid person

Pé-de-boihard-working person

Sangue bom / Gente finacool person

Maleva – bad person, thief

Gato / Gata – a beautiful person

Mala – an arrogant person

Alcaguete – a snitch

Portuguese Grammar Guide


Here are some words you will not learn in a language school, even though they are commonly used among Portuguese-speaking people:


Não aguentar nas canetas / Estar só o póto be very tired

Bater as botas / Ir dessa para a melhor / Esticar o pernil / Dar o peido mestre / Bater a caçoleta / Levar o fareloto die

Ter lata / Ter cara de pauto have the guts to do something

Descalçar essa bota / Descascar esse abacaxi / Resolver esse pepino / Resolver essa treta to deal with a difficult situation

Abufelar – to get angry

Vigiar bem – to pay attention

Embretar-se – to get into trouble

Estar perrengue – to be sick

Trocar ideia – to talk

Queimar o filme – to gossip, talk badly about someone

Pagar pau – to admire someone

Manjar – know, understand

Pagar mico – embarrassed



Every language has its own expressions and idioms, and Portuguese is no exception:


Fixe / Giro / Da hora / Bacana / Maneiro / Massa cool

Malta / Galera / Turmaa group of friends

Bué / Pra carambavery much, a lot

Sandes / Sandubasandwich

Piropo / Xavecoa flirt

Do piorioawful

Campo santo – cemetery

Olada – opportunity

Égua de largura – good luck

Bitelo – very big, huge

Cacundaa person’s back

Zueira – joke

Foi mal – I’m sorry

Falou! / Beleza!OK

Valeu! – Thanks!

Babado – gossip



Nossa! / Oloco! / Caraca!expressions of surprise

Deixa quieto / Esquece – never mind

Ó do borogodósomething unpleasant or difficult

Trampo job


Learn Portuguese Faster Using LingQ

Immersing yourself in Portuguese doesn’t require you to travel abroad or sign up for an expensive language program.


However, it can be a bit tiresome to find interesting content, go back and forth between sites, use different dictionaries to look up words, and so on.


That’s why there’s LingQ. A language app that helps you discover and learn from content you love.


You can import videos, podcasts, and much more and turn them into interactive lessons.


Keep all your favorite Portuguese content stored in one place, easily look up new words, save vocabulary, and review. Check out our guide to importing content into LingQ for more information.

Learn Portuguese on LingQ

LingQ is available for desktop as well as Android and iOS. Gain access to thousands of hours of audio and transcripts and begin your journey to fluency today.


Ivy do Carmo is a Brazilian content writer and translator whose passion has always been learning and teaching the English language.