Tag Archives: phrase

Learn Brazilian

14 Aug


By Diego


Lit. friend of the jaguar.

  • A supposedly good friend, but actually one who is false and hypocritical.

Que amigo-da-onça que você é!

A fine friend you are!

Amigo-da-oncaHyphenated, compound nouns like amigo-da-onça sometimes form the plural by putting the first word only in the plural. So…

Amigo-da-onça – plural – amigos-da-onça.

Pai-de-santo – Lit. father of saind – or mãe-de-santo – Lit. mother of saint – male and female high priests in Umbanda and Candomblé religions

Plural: pais-de-santo and mãe-de-santo.

The basic rules for the plurals of compound nouns are as follows:

  • Only the first word takes a plural when there is a preposition between the words. For example:
    Pé-de-moleque – Lit. young boy’s foot  – peanut brittle candy.
    Plural: pés-de-moleque – peanut brittle candies.
  • Both words take a plural form when the separete parts are different and can stand alone. For example:
    Segunda-feira – Monday
    Plural: segundas-feiras – Mondays.
  • Only the last word takes a plural form in the following two cases:
    1. When the first word is a verb. For example:
      Beija-flor – hummingbird
      Plural: beija-flores – hummingbirds.
    2. When the first word cannot be changed or when it is a prefix. For example:
      Abaixo-assinado – signed petition
      Plural: abaixo-assinados – signed petitions
      Ex-govrenador – ex-governor
      Plural: ex-governadores – ex-govrenors.

Learn Brazilian

22 Jul


By Diego


Lit. to find yourself.

  • To be conceited, arrogant, snobby, full of yourself, to think you are better than others.

Aquele cara se acha só porque apareceu na televisão.

That guy is so full of himself just because he appeared on TV.

A common adjective to describe people who think they are better or more important than others and behave in a proud and unpleasant way is – metido
Ele é tão metido e adora esnobar os outros.
He is so arrogant and loves to act snobbyshly towards others.

Learn Brazilian

22 Jul


By Diego


Lit. a small summer squash, zucchini (US), courgette (UK).

  • Baloney, nonsense, rubbish (UK), stupid ideas, comments etc.

Ela conseguiu ser a campeã das abobrinhas



She managed tobe the champion of stupid ideas..


Learn Brazilian

14 May


By Diego


Lit. pineapple.

  • A hot potato, a hard / tough nut to crack, a problem, situation etc. that is difficult and unpleasant to deal with.

Ele é cliente de um advogado americano que tenta descascar seus abacaxis em Nova Jersey.

He is the cliente of an American lawyer who tries to solve his problems in New Jersey..

Charge do Izânio descascando o abacaxi‘To solve the problem’ is descascar o abacaxi – Lit. to cut off the skin, to peel the pineapple.

The word pepino (cucumber) is also used to mean ‘trouble’ or a ‘problem’.

Hoje eu só resolvi pepinos no escritório.
Today I just sorted out problems at the office. 

The regular word for ‘problem’ is problema but be careful! Words ending in a are usually feminine and have the articles aas (the – singular / the – plural) and  uma(a) before them. For example:

A mesa, a pasta, a lâmpada.

The table, the folder, the lamp.

As mesas, as pastas, as lâmpadas.
The tables, the folders, the lamps.

Uma mesa, uma pasta, uma lâmpada.
A table, a folder, a lamp.

But words ending in –ema are of Greek origin and are masculine. So you must always say, for example:

O problema, os problemas,  and um problema.
O sistema, os sistemas and um sistema.
O esquema, os esquemas, 
and um esquema.

If you use adjectives with these words you must also always use the corresponding masculine form. For example:

Um problema complicado.
A complicated problem.

O sistema nervoso.
The nervous system.

Os esquemas fraudulentos.
The fraudulent schemes.

Learn Brazilian

5 Feb


By Diego


  • Blackout, power cut, power failure..

Na prática, para evitar um novo apagão elétrico, criou-se um novo apagão: o de gás.

In pratice, to avoid a new eletrical blackout, they created a new power failure: the gas one.

The word apagão comes from the verb apagar ‘to switch off’. It was coined in 2001 to describe the severe eletrical power cuts at the time. The same word is also used for other kinds of ‘switching off’ or power failure, for example o apagão aéreo, to describe the critical situation at Brazilian airports with long delays, overbooking and cancelled flights.

The suffix –ão is often used in Portugueses as an augmentative. An augmentative increases the quality of the original word, often indicating a larger size. For example:

Forte – strong        fortão – very strong

Centro – centre     centrão – big centre.

Augmentatives are very popular in Brazil. An important football championship is the brasileirão and some famous football statioums are the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte, the barradão in Salvador, and the Engenhão in Rio de Janeiro.

Names of stores also commonly adopt augmentatives, like Drogão, Feirão, Ponto Frio Bonzão and there is a popular Sunday TV programme called Domingão do Faustão. The most common augmentatives are masculine -ão and the feminine -ona. For example:

Um jogo – a game       um jogão – a great game.

Uma mesa – a table   uma mesona – a big table.

Strangely enough, the masculine augmentative can also sometimes be used with a feminine noun. The noun then becomes grammatically masculine with a meninine meaning. For example:

Uma mulher – a woman.

Um mulherão – a big woman(normally used by men rather than woman to describe a woman).

Learn Brazilian

3 Nov


By Diego


Mess, confusion, disorder.

Quando a professora saiu da sala e deixou os alunos sozinhos, virou uma zona.

When the teacher went out of the room and left the students on their own, it turned into a disorderly mess.


baguncaescritorioThe zona is also the name given to the red-light distric, the area in the town or city where there are many prostitutes.

Learn Brazilian

2 Oct


By Diego


Lit. To leave, to go away.

Se o pai dela chegar, é melhor você vazar.

If her dad arrives you’d better leave..



The standard meaning of vazar is ‘to leak’, but very informally it is used to mean ‘to leave’ or ‘to go away’.