Portuguese Slang
Words and Phrases

Traveling to Portugal or Brazil? Want to fala portuguese?

Portuguese is one of the major languages of the world (the sixth most spoken language worldwide), spoken by about 200 million people on four continents! In Lisbon, Porto, and other main destinations, English is spoken fairly widely. The Portuguese are proud of their language so learning just a few simple Portuguese words certainly enhances a visit to Portugal.

15+ Must-Know Portuguese Slang Words and Phrases

Acorde com os pés afastados
Interpretation: "Wake up with the feet outside," meaning to wake up in a bad mood.
In use: Someone might "acorde com os pés afastados" after a restless night.

Ainda que vistas a mona de seda, mona se queda
Interpretation: "Even if you see a female monkey in silk, she's still a monkey." It's similar to "a silk purse from a sow's ear" or, "lipstick on a pig." 
In use: You'd use this to indicate that something remains what it is, no matter how nicely it's made out to be.

Alcança quem não cansa
Interpretation: "The reach goes to those who don't get tired." Even though the task might be difficult, or a lot of work, the benefits will reach those who do not tire.
In use: You might feel inspired to say it when giving up is the easy thing to do, but it’s worth it to persist.

Alimente sua barba
Interpretation: "Feed your beard," or eat right now because you're grumpy/hangry.
In use: Your friend could be "com os óleos de oliva," but you know for a fact that they're just hungry, so you'd say, "alimente sua barba."

Até breve/Até logo/Tchau!
Interpretation: Informal ways of saying "See you soon" or "See you later!"
In use: You'll hear locals calling this out to each other all the time when parting ways.

Barata tonta
Interpretation: "Silly cockroach!"
In use: This one is applicable when someone is being clumsy or unfocused. "Barata tonta, pay attention!"

Estar com os óleos de oliva
Interpretation: "Being with the olive oils," referring to someone in a bad mood.
In use: Maybe they need to feed their beard?

Fala inglês?
Interpretation: "Speak English?"
In use: This is a super useful, quick, and informal phrase to know.

Fixe
Interpretation: Translates to "fix" or "fixed," though used to describe someone as cool, nice, or good.
In use: As one of the most common slang words in the entire country, you'll hear this one used by teenagers all the time.

Giro/gira
Interpretation: Translates to "spin" or "turn," though used to describe almost anything with fondness. Commonly used for cute, nice, fluffy, sweet, beautiful, etc.
In use: You can use it for both people and objects, though "giro" is masculine and "gira" is feminine.

Muitos anos transformando galinhas
Interpretation: Literally translates to "many years turning chickens," and means to be wise.
In use: At GET, we have "muitos anos transformando galinhas" in the travel industry (over 40!).

Pão pão, queijo queijo
Interpretation: "Bread bread, cheese cheese," meaning it’s that clear.
In use: Mostly to introduce a frank or direct statement, something like, “I don’t mean to be blunt, but…”

Pode tirar o cavalinho da chuva
Interpretation: "You can get your little horse out of the rain." Meaning, you can totally forget about it, it's not going to happen.
In use: If you've always wanted to own a horse, but know one won't be happy in your small yard, you can "pode tirar o cavalinho da chuva."

Pulga atrás da orelha
Interpretation: Literally translates to "being with a flea behind one’s ear," and means to smell a rat, be suspicious, to be mistrustful, or maybe even intrigued.
In use: "Did you see what they just did?! I'm pulga atrás da orelha..."

Sob a sombra da banana tree
Interpretation: "Under the shadow or shade of the banana tree." Think, “no worries” or “hakuna matata”.
In use: Relaxing on the boardwalk in Lisbon, you might feel completely "sob a sombra da banana tree."

Tipo
Interpretation: "Type" but used in the same context as the English slang word "like" especially by teenagers. It can also mean "dude" where tipa would mean "gal" or "babe."
In use: Substitute any "like" for "tipo" and you'd be "tipo golden."

Táss cull
Interpretation: Literally translates to "we were cool," used to mean, "it's all good" or "we're cool."
In use: You might overhear this phrase said by a local teenager after spilling something all over their table and self.

Tchim-tchim!
Interpretation: "Cheers!" This one is actually onomatopoeic for the clinking of glasses. Speakers of French, Spanish, Italian, and Catalan may also use a similar form when toasting. Think of the "ting ting" a glass makes when struck for toasts, but say it "ta sheem, ta sheem!"
In use: When you're toasting your friends on the last night of your vacation, raise a glass and proudly call out, "Tchim-tchim!"