Usually when a person learns a language they do so in the traditional means, which causes them to sound a bit robotic and unnatural. An easy remedy to this is to learn some slang words so that you can speak more like a native. This is definitely the case for the Portuguese language, in which most Brazilians like to speak in a more casual way and so slang words are very frequently used. Check out this article by Lize on the most commonly used Portuguese slang words!
13 Portuguese Slang Words to Speak Like a True Brazilian
Hi, Lize here. I’m from Brazil and I’m part of the MosaLingua Team. Brazilians are usually very informal people. That is why slang is an important part of our vocabulary. Today, you will learn 13 Portuguese slang words that you should know if you want to speak like a Brazilian! Then, if you need more resources for learning Portuguese, check out our guide.
Listen to Portuguese Slang Pronounced by a Real Brazilian
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Portuguese Slang You Need to Know
In Brazil, when we greet someone, it is quite usual to use the word “joia.” “Joia” is something usually made of gold or silver, that people wear as decoration. As a Brazilian slang word, though, “joia” means “great.” So, if someone says: “Hi there! What’s up?” It’s quite common to answer: “Tudo joia (I’m great!) E você? (How about yourself?)”
Another popular slang word in Brazil is “beleza.” “Beleza” literally means beauty. As a slang word, “beleza” means “yes” or “it’s a deal.” So, if someone asks: “Let’s have a barbecue (“um churrasco”) this weekend?” You might answer: “Beleza! Eu levo a cerveja! (I’ll bring the beer!)” And, since we’ve mentioned beauty, if someone calls you “gato” or “gata”… say thanks! This is the slang we use to say someone is hot/handsome.
“Cara” literally means face. As a slang term, it’s a word we use to talk about a young man we don’t know. So, to use “cara” (guy) and “gato” (handsome), which you’ve already learned how to use, we could say: “Viu o cara de azul na praia? Um gato!”
Pepino and Abacaxi
When people are talking about a problem, we sometimes use the name of two fruits: “pepino” (cucumber), as a slang word, is a synonym of problem, as well as “abacaxi” (pineapple). So, if a friend says: today, I’ll have to work late… “Estou com um pepino no escritório!” that doesn’t mean he’s making a salad, it means he has a problem to deal with.
And when we want to say that something is nice or that we like something, one of the most usual word is “bacana” (nice).
But when we want to say someone is annoying, one of the most common slang in Brazil is “mala” (suitcase), as in the sentence: “Meu vizinho (neighbour) é um mala! He makes noise (barulho) all night long.” We could also say that this neighbor “faz barulho pra caramba.” “Pra caramba means “a lot” or “too much.”
And if this neighbor feels bad about disturbing you so much, he might say: “foi mal!” “Foi mal” is a slang term we use to say we’re sorry.
In this case, you might answer using another very typical slang word in Brazil: “Falou!” which means “OK,” “I agree,” or “gotcha.”
And since we’ve mentioned a barbecue and the beach, another very common slang in Brazil is “rolar.” Literally, “rolar” is a synonym for “to spin,” or “start spinning.” As slang, it means “to happen.” “The weekend (fim semana) was great! Rolou praia no sábado e no domingo!” or even: “Rola um cinema (a movie) na semana que vem?”
To end this article, I’ve chosen another very popular slang word in Brazil: “Valeu!” “Valeu” simply means obrigada (thanks)! Thanks for reading!
More Portuguese and Brazilian Slang
Do you know other Portuguese slang terms that you think should be on this list? Share them in the comments section. Don’t forget to tell us what they mean and how they are used.
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I loved the publication but I will only correct a few things like brazilian. “Joia” is really slang but if you’re under 20 it’s going to get kind of weird, it’s not like we don’t say that but it’s something that’s more for the older ones. “pepino” we use but “abacaxi”? my friends, never even heard of it. Better than “mala” is the “mala sem alça”. Also, “falou” does not mean “I agree” or “ok” means bye. For example, “I’m late” “That’s okay, we’ll talk later, ‘falou’! ”
eu amei a publicação mas só vou corrigir algumas coisas como brasileira. joia é realmente uma gíria mas se você é menor de 20 anos vai ficar meio estranho, tipo não é como se nós não dissesemos isso mas é uma coisa que são mais para os mais velhos. pepino a gente usa mas abacaxi? meus amigos, nunca nem ouvi falar. melhor que mala é o “mala sem alça”. além disso, falou não siginifica eu concordo ou ok significa tchau. por exemplo, “ai tô atrasada” “que isso, não tem problema, depois a gente se fala, falou!”
égua! and Nossa! as exclamations – like Wow! Jeez! Blimey!
Cool, thanks for your suggestions, Dominic! I’ll consider adding those the next time I update the article.
hi I speak Portuguese and I have never heard anyone talking “cucumber” or “pineapple” as giria
oi falo portugues e nunca escutei alguem dizendo pepino ou abacaxi como giria
Really? Slang is actually something that can vary a bit regionally, and, of course, it’s also “age sensitive”, but to say “Estou com um pepino pra resolver” or “Que abacaxi!” are quite popular ways to say you have a problem. If you want to learn a bit more about it, a Google search will show you a lot. Like this article on Superinteressante, for instance: https://super.abril.com.br/mundo-estranho/por-que-pepino-e-abacaxi-sao-girias-para-problema/
The tile “Bacama” should be corrected, the word is “Bacana” with “n”.
Thanks a lot for spotting that!
Fixed it 🙂
Why is FACA NOT ONE THERE
Well, we couldn’t possibly put all slang words in there, but if you think there are more worth mentioning, please feel free to let us know here and tell us what it means 😉