There are many versions of Portuguese. If you’ve been to Brazil, you’ve heard sing-songy Portuguese. If you’ve met Cape-Verdians you’ve heard a clear Caribbean version of Portuguese (IMHO – the easiest to understand). If you’ve been to Porto, you’ve heard dirty (and I mean filthy NJ approved Portuguese). If you are like me, and you love Lisbon and are planning to move to Lisbon, then you will probably end up taking Portuguese classes, and at some point take the A2 Portuguese exam that is necessary for permanent residency. However, you don’t want to speak like a book. If you want to speak like a real Portuguese person, you need to learn Portuguese slang. These are a few Portuguese slang phrases I have picked up over the last two years. I hope you find them useful. If you know more, leave them in the comments. I always love to learn more.
Useful Portuguese Slang
Slang for Types of People
Tuga – Slang for a Portuguese person.
Tia de Cascais – an “auntie from Cascais” also known as a wealthy woman who lives in Cascais (a more affluent city). They normally are well dressed and quite snobbish. May not notice you’re alive and will skip you on the line.
***Note – this is a work in progress and I will add more as I learn. Also, if you are Portuguese, I’d love to learn more…so drop a line in the comments with your faves.
Nem me falar! (also – Nem me fale!) – It’s a sort of don’t even go there type of expression.
Estou farto disto – I’m sick of this!
Acredito quando vir – this is pretty literal, an I believe it when I see it.
Não faz mal – (you did no wrong) – Don’t worry about it.
Devagar vá longe – Taking your time is worth it, particularly when someone is working, but taking the time to do things right.
Queimar as Pestanas – When you burn your eyelashes because you’ve been studying by candelight too long.
Um Bocadinho – (A little mouthful). You can use this when someone asks you if you want a piece of cake, or someone asks how long you will be.
Pao, pao, queijo, queijo – (bread is bread, cheese is cheese.) Basically, these are two things are different and should be seen as such.
Nao te metas comigo. Don’t mess with me.
Estou a brincar – I’m just playing, don’t take me seriously.
Trabalho é trabalho, conhaque é conhaque – (work is work, cognac is cognac) – Don’t mix business with pleasure.
Ter macaquinhos na cabeça – (To have monkeys in the brain) – A person who ha monkeys on the brain is a worrywart. Someone who worries about everything without having a real reason to.
Andar às aranhas – When you’re feeling confused or disoriented you can say you’re walking the spiders.
Muitos anos virar a frangos – (Many years turning chickens) Imagine you’ve been working at a churrasqueira for years and you’ve been turning those chickens day in and day out…you’re an expert right. Use this phrase when you want to emphasize that you are an expert on the subject. That you know what you’re talking about.
Quem não tem cão caça com gato – He who doesn’t have a dog, hunts with a cat – basically, if you don’t have the resources, find another way.
Alright all, don’t get offended here. I’m just the messenger.
Trabalhar Como Um Galego – Someone who works hard works as hard as a Galician.
Don’t forget to share other Portuguese slang phrases you have learned. If you’re from another region like the Algarve or Porto, make sure to include that in here. Regional differences in Portuguese slang are bound to be interesting.