Do you want to learn Portuguese? Then you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ve assembled lists of the most essential Portuguese words for beginners. Here, you can find the most important Portuguese vocabulary and the most useful phrases, organized by subject.

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Essential Portuguese Words for Beginners

There is some variation to the way Portuguese is spoken around the world, whether you’re in Portugal, Brazil, or another Lusophone country. At MosaLingua, we teach Brazilian Portuguese in our app, our online courses, and (usually) here on our blog.

To start, here is a table of some of the most essential Portuguese words translated to English to help you build your vocabulary. You’re welcome to print it off or pin it to a language-learning board if that’s helpful to you. This table is for beginners, but there is more advanced vocabulary toward the bottom of this article.

Essential Portuguese Words & PhrasesEnglish Translation of Portuguese WordsHow to Say Portuguese Words with a Perfect Accent
Bom dia, Boa tarde (afternoon)Hello
Tudo bem?How are you?
Ok, táOk
Poderia me ajudar?Could you help me?
por favorplease
obrigada (said by a woman), obrigado (said by a man)Thank you
De nadaYou're welcome
Não seiI don't know
(Eu) preciso de (+ verb)I need (+ verb)
O que é isso?What is this?
O que significa ...?What does ... mean?

What Other Portuguese Words Do I Need to Know?

Basic Portuguese Words and Phrases

If on day one of your Portuguese journey you can already say a few useful phrases, you’ll be super encouraged and motivated to keep it up. So instead of learning phrases you’ll never use, start with these common topics: Portuguese greetings; polite expressions; common nouns, verbs, and adjectives; and numbers.


Close-up photograph of two people shaking hands.

There are always many ways to greet someone, each with its own nuance and context. Here are a few of the most common Portuguese words for “hello” and “goodbye” as well as ideas to get a conversation going.

  • Hello = Bom dia, Boa tarde (afternoon)
  • Hi = Oi
  • Good night = Boa noite
  • How’s it going? = Tudo bem? 
  • How are you? = Como vai?
  • Very well, thank you = Muito bem, obrigada or Muito bem, obrigado 
  • Goodbye = Tchau, Adeus 
  • See you soon = Até já 
  • It’s good to meet you = Muito prazer 
  • My name is xxx = Me chamo xxx or Meu nome é 
  • I don’t speak Portuguese (well) = (Eu) não falo (bem) português 
  • Could you speak more slowly, please? = Pode falar mais devagar, por favor?
  • I speak a little Portuguese = (Eu) falo um pouco de português 
  • Could you repeat that, please? = Pode repetir, por favor?


It’s always a good idea to have a few polite expressions up your sleeve! You’ll sound polished and confident if you can navigate through a conversation with these phrases.

  • Excuse me, pardon me = desculpe, com licença 
  • My pleasure = Com prazer 
  • It’s ok / It’s not a big deal = Não importa 
  • You’re very kind = O Senhor / A Senhora é muito amável 
  • Enjoy yourself = Divirta-se
  • Good luck = Boa sorte

Basic Portuguese words – Adjectives

Just like in English, adjectives are an easy way to add detail and depth to your ideas. Here are a few you should definitely know.

  • open = aberto (masc.) / aberta (fem.)
  • closed = fechado (masc.) / fechada (fem.)
  • hot = quente 
  • cold = frio (masc.) / fria (fem.)
  • new = novo (masc.) / nova (fem.)
  • small = pequeno (masc.) / pequena (fem.)
  • easy = fácil 
  • difficult = difícil 
  • full = cheio (masc.) / cheia (fem.)
  • busy = ocupado (masc.) / ocupada (fem.)

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Basic Portuguese words – Nouns

As in English, nouns are essential for communicating your ideas about people, places, and objects. Here are some must-know Portuguese nouns.

  • first name = o nome
  • city = a cidade 
  • entrance = a entrada 
  • exit = a saída 
  • man, boy = o homem, o menino 
  • woman, girl = a mulher, a menina  
  • people = a gente / as pessoas 
  • schedule = o horário 
  • place = o lugar 
  • stop (e.g. bus) = a parada 

Basic Portuguese words – Verbs

Just like in English, verbs are crucial for talking about actions. These words and phrases will come in very handy!

  • to eat = comer 
  • to drink = beber / tomar 
  • to sleep = dormir 
  • to go = ir 
  • to be able to = poder / ser capaz de 
  • to help = ajudar 
  • to buy = comprar 
  • to like = gostar 
  • to have = ter 
  • to speak = falar  
  • to do, to make = fazer 

Numbers in Portuguese

Below, you’ll find a graphic with the numbers 0-20 in Portuguese. Feel free to save and print out this cheat sheet, or save it to your language-learning Pinterest board.

portuguese numbers 1 to 20 MosaLingua

To continue, here are the numbers from 20-100 in Portuguese:

portuguese numbers 20 to 100

Intermediate Portuguese Words and Phrases

Eating & drinking – Portuguese food vocabulary

Photo of a man preparing food in a restaurant.

If you love food, you’ll certainly want to know these phrases when you find yourself at a restaurant or a vendor’s stall!

  • I’m hungry = Estou com fome 
  • I’m thirsty = Estou com sede 
  • breakfast = o café da manhã
  • lunch = o almoço 
  • dinner = o jantar 
  • glass = o copo
  • What would you like to eat? = O que você gostaria de comer?
  • What is the house speciality? = Qual é a especialidade da casa?
  • the menu = o cardápio, o menu 
  • the table = a mesa 
  • Could you give me a restaurant recommendation? = Você poderia me recomendar um restaurante?

Travel – Transportation and lodging

When you’re visiting a new country or city, there are a few things you’ll need to know so you can get where you need to go! If you’re staying in a hotel, here are a few Portuguese words to help you.

  • trip = a viagem 
  • departure / arrival = a partida / a chegada 
  • Where are you going? = Aonde você vai? 
  • I’m getting off at the next stop, please = Desço na próxima parada, por favor 
  • a single bed / a double bed = uma cama de solteiro / uma cama de casal 
  • I’d like to reserve one more night = Gostaria de reservar uma noite a mais 
  • What time do I need to check out? = A que horas devo liberar o quarto?
  • I’m tired, I need to go sleep = estou com sono, preciso ir dormir
  • sheets = os lençóis
  • pillow = o travesseiro 

Brazilian slang

And if you plan to travel to Brazil, it’s not a bad idea to brush up on your slang! You might not feel comfortable using it if you’re a beginner, but it’s always helpful to be able to recognize slang words when talking with locals!

Also, here’s a little peek at our article (and video) on Brazilian slang. Some of these words can be very useful for winning over natives during your travels.

  • boy / guy = filho / cara
  • guys = a galera 
  • foreigner = gringo, gringa 
  • cool / awesome = isso é demais / muito legal 
  • No way! You’re joking! = Mentira! Tá brincando

In case of emergencies…

Of course, no one wants to end up in an emergency situation, but it’s always good to be prepared with a few phrases just in case.

  • Help! / Help me! = Socorro! / Me ajude! 
  • I need your help = Preciso da sua ajuda 
  • Help me call an ambulance = Me ajude a chamar uma ambulância 
  • It’s an emergency = É uma emergência 
  • I lost my passport = Eu perdi meu passaporte 
  • I lost my suitcase = Eu perdi minha mala 
  • I’m in a bind = Entrar numa fria (slang)
  • sick = doente 
  • I need a doctor now = Preciso de um médico urgente 
  • pain = a dor 

Take It a Step Further

essential-portuguese-words-brazilian-vocabulary-you-cant-get-by-without-mosalinguaAll these Portuguese words, phrases, and expressions are from our app or our online learning course designed to help you learn Portuguese. We’ve gathered all the vocabulary you need—the 1,000 most common Portuguese words and much, much more. We’ve also put it all together in one place to help you quickly reach a level where you can communicate confidently in Brazilian Portuguese. What’s more, you can use any device to take our training courses and make quick progress with the scientifically proven spaced repetition system! Visit our course catalog to learn more!

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