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.
Vá lá: Has many meanings. For example, it can stand in as “Come on” as in when you are trying to get someone to tell you something but they won’t. This is one of many ways this phrase can be used.
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! An easy way to remember this is with the phrase – I’m sick of smelling your farts (Estou farto de cheirar seus peidos).
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.
Acordar com os pes de fora – If you slept all night with your feet outside of the cover, you probably woke up grumpy. The above phrase means you’re in a bad mood.
Nao te metas comigo. Don’t mess with me.
Estou a brincar – I’m just playing, don’t take me seriously.
Vai Chatear Camões: Go tell it to Camões. Stop wasting my time with this bs and go tell it to Shakespeare.
Ter Muita Lata: Someone who has a lot of cans has as we’d say in Spanish – cojones – They have no qualms about lying to your face, cheating you, or anyone else.
Não tem dinheiro para mandar cantar um ceguinho: Basically, when someone is so broke, they can’t give change to a blind person to make them sing.
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, what you see is what you get. For example, with someone where you always know where they stand.
Trabalho é trabalho, conhaque é conhaque – (work is work, cognac is cognac) – Don’t mix business with pleasure.
Boa Como o Milho: Good like corn (a really sexist way of saying a woman is attractive because she is as good as corn).
Estar com os Azeites: To be with the oils…no idea how this relates, but it means you’re in a bad mood.
O que não mata engorda: That which does not kill you will make you fat. Basically a way to tell you to just eat the damn thing and ignore the caloric content.
Chamar um figo: When something is delicious you use this phrase to express that it was so good that you ate it without a second thought. For example: Don’t leave the food on the table, if the dog grabs it you can call it a fig.
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.
Barata Tonta – A dumb roach. Basically, if you’re walking around cluelessly, you’re the dumb roach.
Ir Com os Porcos: To go with the pigs (to the slaughter house). AKA – you’re f’d.
Pulga atras da orelha: When you have a flea on your ear, your spider senses are tingling. So if you see a weird person and you start to feel suspicious, you’ve got a flea on your ear.
Burro Velho nao Aprende Linguas: An old donkey doesn’t learn languages, the equivalent of you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
O Gato Comeu a Lingua: Cat got your tongue?
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.