30 Phrases and Words in Portuguese That are Just So Useful

When it comes to learning Portuguese for foreigners, there are a couple mixed feelings. Some say it is pretty simple, others find it awful how there are so many verb conjugations and how we use three verbs together, when we could easily use only one, but something that is particularly interesting about Brazilian portuguese is how creative we are with language and words. In fact, there are so many slangs, popular proverbs and phrases that I wonder how gringos eventually find a way to understand the things we say; Literary canos like Machado de Assis, Guimarães Rosa and Mário de Andrade wrote amazing books and some of these even need a proper dictionary for Brazilians, as it is hard even for native speakers to understand and decipher regional idioms. 

Because Cásper Líbeiro is located in São Paulo and we have a good number of students from other states and cities, we thought about writing it down some slangs, phrases and idioms used in the city's metropolitan area.

  1. Treta - Mostly used in Sao Paulo, treta means fight, but with time it is also commonly used when saying something went really bad.

  2. Manjar dos Paranauês -  Paranauê is actually is a word from capoeira, an Afro- Brazilian martial art. The entire sentence means knowing how to do something or how something works. 

  3. Rolê (Mô rolê, dar um rolê) - Dar um rolê means going for a walking or going somewhere, while mô rolê (mô = muito = very) means it is a far away place, which takes a long walk to get there. 

  4. Fechou - The corrrect translation to fechou is closed, but in popular dialet, fechou is used to satating that something is scheduled or agreed. 

  5. Da Hora - Of the time, or simply cool.

  6. De Boa - Estar de boa - generally means you are either okay or you are okay with something

  7. Enxer linguiça - Keep adding useless information just to fill the space, either in text or in person.

  8. Trampo - Work

  9. Vazar - It actually means a flood, but it is used to say someone left or is leaving. 

  10. Bode - Tedious, boring, annoying

  11. Miar - Give up on something or get tired of something. Eu miei a aula. I gave up on watching the class

  12. Zoar (Zueira) - Mess, joke or making fun of something

  13. Mano - Sort for brother (irmão), but used for bothe genders as a pronoum.

  14. Osso - Hard, difficult. Tá osso means something is extremely hard.

  15. Suave - Means soft, but used to say okay or fine

  16. Imagina - Instead of saying "You're welcome" or De nada and Disponha, people reply to a thank with imagina, kind of saying "Oh, imagine, it's no big deal"

  17. Gota da água - Last drop, when you had enough of something.

  18. Quem é você na fila do pão? - In literal translation, who are you in the line of bread? Means who are you to say something like that, kind of you are not qualified to speak of such;

  19. Rachar o bico - To crack of laughter. But literal translation would be something like to crack the beak.

  20. Cor de burro quando foge - Color of a dumb when it rans, it is a weird shade of grey/blue/green, not really defined.

  21. Segura essa forninho - Original from a Youtube video where a girl was dancing a suddenly hit the microwave (which was on a shelf) and had to hold the microwave, so it wouldn't fall. Therefore, segura esse forninho, hold the oven, is usually used when you do something and now has to manage the damage. 

  22. Lacrar - Literal = to seal, but used in the context of "went well" or "rocked".

  23. SQN - Só que não, only not. It is a ironic way of stating the opposite.

  24. Valeu - Thanks

  25. Gente fina - Nice person

  26. Pagar mico - Go through an embarrasing moment or be embarrased 

  27. Naquelas - Sort of... or that 

  28. Dar migué - Do something in a mediocre way

  29. Pacas - a lot, a bunch

  30. Brisar - when you space out. Brisa means breeze, so brisar is kind of breezing.

+1 - Papel de trouxa - playing the dumb, being the dumb, to be tricked