Portuguese Slang

Slang and idioms are colourful words and expressions that cannot be translated literally. They are absolutely indispensable if you want to speak like a native, it’s the difference between “textbook” and “real-world” language.

It is curious that so many Brazilian slang terms and idiomatic expressions derive from foods.

  • A difficult problem to solve is an “abacaxi” (pineapple)
  • A handsome man is a “pão” (bread)
  • An attractive woman is an “uva” (grape)
  • Nonsense is “abobrinhas” (zucchini)
  • A loved one is called “doce-de-coco” (coconut sweet)
  • And “torcer o pepino” (twist the cucumber) means to discipline a mischievous child.
  • Something or someone that never fails “é batata” (is a potato)
  • When you face something hard and complicated to solve you stand with a “batata quente na mão” (hot potato in your hands).
  • Unimportant things and people are “café pequeno” (small coffee).
  • A very vain and presumptuous person “acha que é o rei da cocada preta” (thinks he is the king of the dark, sweet coconut).
  • “Enchemos lingüiça” (we fill up sausages) when we have nothing to write or speak about and write/ speak anything else.

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