Portuguese is known for being the home of Cristiano Ronaldo, Atlantic beaches and amazing food. All of this makes Portuguese speaking countries some of the best vacation destinations in the entire world. Speaking a few Portuguese slang words with the locals will certainly go a long way!
Just as with English, Portuguese has two major variants- European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese. Unlike British and American English, however, Portuguese is very different. There are several false friends between the two dialects as well as false friends between Portuguese and English.
Both Brazilian and European Portuguese are very different, and in some cases unintelligible! Check out our 15 best Portuguese slang words used in both Portugal and Brazil.
7 Portuguese slang words used mostly in Portugal
The following Portuguese slang words are used mostly in Portugal and other countries that use European Portuguese, most notably Mozambique and Angola.
Fixe is one of the most commonly used slang words in the entire country. Traditionally, it is used by teenagers to describe people rather than objects. However, hearing it used in the context of an object is not unheard of.
Literally, Fixe translates as "fix" or "fixed" however it is more commonly used in the sense of cool, nice or good. Another way to say fixe is to use legal (literally "legal") although fixe is more commonly used.
Ya is perhaps the most self explanatory of all the Portuguese slang words on this list. Thanks to that, it is one of the most widely used slang words in all of Portugal.
Although ya doesn't have a literal meaning, it is often used in place of sim, meaning yes. Ya is also used in place of “uh-huh”. Unlike most other slang words, ya has become widely used and accepted in the workplace.
Giro/gira are fairly common words used on the streets of Lisbon, Porto and most other Portuguese towns and villages. It literally means "Spin" or "Turn" however, they can be used in the sense of almost anything!
However, it is most commonly used in the context of meaning beautiful, cute, nice or fluffy. You can use giro for males and gira for females. You can use it for both people and objects compared to just being used for one or the other.
Pá is one of the most used slang words in Portugal, used especially by teenagers. Similarly to ya, it is quite widely used in an office and business context, but mostly in one of its two translations.
Literally, pá translates as bread, however is usually used as an interjection meaning "man!" or "dude!". Depending on context, pá is also used in the place of "uhh..." when you are thinking, this is also the one used in an office and business context.
Tipo is perhaps the most common Portuguese slang word used in Portugal. It is used in the same context as how many English speaking teenagers use "like" however, it literally translates to as "type".
Many teenagers have also altered its meaning in recent years too. This new meaning, tipo for males and tipa for girls is used in the same way as "dude" or "gal" is used in English slang.
6) Táss cuul
Táss cuul is very common around the streets of Lisbon and Porto in particular. Táss cuul literally translates to "we were cool" however it is more commonly used in the context of meaning "It's all good" or "We're cool".
Another way of saying táss cuul would be to use táss bem who's slang meaning is "we're good". Táss bem is used more commonly in the rural parts of Portugal, where táss cuul is used more commonly in the cities.
Desaparece, literally "disappear", is usually used in the context of "Get lost" or "Go away". It is one of the most common non-swear word-related ways to tell someone to leave you alone in Portuguese. Generally, it is seen as more polite and acceptable alternative used in a business or office setting.
7 Portuguese slang words used mostly in Brazil
The following Portuguese slang words are mostly used in Brazilian Portuguese, spoken mostly in Brazil and some surrounding countries.
Valeu! is one of the most common Brazilian Portuguese slang words. It is generally acceptable to use with your boss at work, or something similar. However, some bosses may not like their employees using valeu! with them.
It literally translates as "to have been worth something". However, it is generally used to mean "Thanks" in the same context as obrigado. It is akin to the British slang word "Cheers!"
You might hear this one often around the streets of Brasília and São Paolo. It is also quite common to hear gato or gata being used in TV shows- especially soaps and dramas.
Gato or gata literally translates as "cat" however, it is generally considered to mean "hot" or "attractive" when describing either a man or a woman. Gato is used to describe men whereas gata is used to describe a woman.
Falou is perhaps the most used slang word in Portugal. Falou is used in a similar context to how táss cuul and táss bem is used in European Portuguese slang. However, táss cuul/bem can't be substituted for falou.
Literally, it is the past tense of falar, literally meaning "to speak" however it is more commonly used as an affirmation, roughly translated as okay or I agree.
Pão-duro is used extensively, and almost exclusively, by Brazilian teenagers. Many in Brazil view pão-duro as not quite an insult, but also not an adjective. There isn't a an English equivalent.
Literally, it means "Hard bread" however, it is used to call someone frugal or stingy, or similar to the use of "Scrooge" in English.
Beleza is one of the most used Brazilian Portuguese slang words. Unlike most slang words, beleza has a non-slang meaning in Portuguese as well as its slang meaning, which are dramatically different to one another.
It literally means "beautiful" however, it is most often used to make it clear that you have reached an accord. As such, it is often used to mean "Okay" or "I agree".
Rolar is typically used in the city, may also be heard in the countryside. It's most commonly used at the end of a conversation to explain to someone else that they need to come with you or you'll go with them.
Rolar literally translates as "to roll" however, it is more commonly used in the context of "let's roll!" or "let's go!" in English. With that being said, many culturally aware Brazilians also use vamos, borrowed from Spanish.
Cabeça-dura is something that is likely to appear in the middle of a conversation. It literally means "hard head" however, it is generally used to call someone stubborn or cemented in their beliefs and refuses to change them, just as in English.
Just as with pão-duro, it is seen as a mixture of an insult and an adjective. It is the slang equivalent of teimoso and teimosa in standard Portuguese.
8) Foi mal!
Foi mal is one of the most used Portuguese slang words in Brazil. Foi mal is the sort of phrase that is used in the office and/or whilst playing games.
Unlike many slang words, Foi mal has no literal meaning. However, it is generally used to mean "My bad". It is similarly used to explain that you have done something obviously stupid or have made an obvious blunder.
Speaking fluent Portuguese means a lot, too!
If you are traveling or living in a lusophone country, it might be advantageous to learn a few Portuguese slang words alongside standard Portuguese!
After all, Portuguese is one of the easiest languages to learn. Portuguese is also one of the most spoken languages, being spoken by 220 million people in 10 different countries.
However, it is advised that you learn the correct dialect, as both European and Brazilian Portuguese are vastly different. Just because you can speak one dialect doesn't always mean you can speak the other!
This is also the same with Portuguese slang too. Just as there is different slang in the US, UK and Australia that often don't work in other countries, the same is also true for Portuguese: something that is used in Portugal may not be understood in Brazil, Mozambique, or Angola.
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