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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 on LingQ
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

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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


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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. LingQ is the best way to learn Portuguese online because it lets you learn from content you enjoy!

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.
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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.