Today you will learn 11 colors in Portuguese and 10 very useful colloquial expressions using the colors. This lesson is organized in three parts:
- 11 most commonly used colors in Portuguese
- Some needed grammar so you can use the colors correctly and be happy with your Portuguese 🙂
- Idiomatic expressions with the colors
Here’s the video:
You are probably wondering if I made a typo when I used the feminine article “a” with the word “cores” above. Nope. Cor is a feminine noun. To form the plural, add “es” at the end:
- a cor = color
- as cores = colors
Qual é a sua cor favorita? Eu adoro azul, rosa e preto 🙂
Vocabulary: 11 Colors in Portuguese
Just a Bit of Grammar to Help You Speak Correctly
Colors Vary in Gender and Number
In Portuguese, the colors agree in gender and number with the noun that they describe. That means that we have a masculine and a feminine form for the colors and we have their singular and plural versions.
- Eu tenho um carro branco. = I have a white car.
- Eu tenho uma camiseta branca. = I have a white t-shirt.
- Gosto de roupas brancas. = I like white clothes.
When you are talking about a color (and not describing an object), use the masculine, singular version. For example:
- Não gosto de amarelo. = I don’t like yellow.
- Adoro vermelho. = I love red.
However, not all the colors have a feminine and a masculine version. The general rules are below.
3 Rules to Help You Along the Way
1. Colors that have a masculine and a feminine version end in “o” in the masculine and end in “a” in the feminine.
- Meu casaco vermelho combina com minha bolsa vermelha. = My red coat matches my red purse.
2. Colors that end in a letter other than “a” or “o” have only one form that applies to both genders.
- Comprei uma saia azul para combinar com o meu casaco azul. = I got a blue skirt to match my blue coat.
- O carro de João é verde. A bicicleta dele também é verde. = João’s car is green. His bicycle is also green.
3. Now, to make things just a bit crazier: Some colors have only one form for both masculine and feminine and they don’t have a plural form. This happens when the word is originally a noun (and not an adjective/color). For example:
- Rosa is originally a noun; it means rose. So when we use it as an adjective (as a color), it doesn’t vary in any way. Look at this example:
Aninha adora vestidos e sapatos rosa. = Aninha loves pink dresses and shoes.
- Laranja = orange (the fruit)
Eu tenho dois gatos laranja. = I have two orange cats.
- Cinza = ash
Luciana adora gatos cinza. = Luciana loves gray cats.
10 Idiomatic Expressions with Colors
- Oi! Tudo azul? = Hi! Is all well?
- Estou verde de fome! = I’m starving!
- Joana ficou roxa de raiva com o seu comentário. = Joana got very angry at your comment.
- Que desculpa amarela! = What a lame excuse!
- Ana fica vermelha quando recebe um elogio. = Ana feels embarrassed when she receives praise.
- Ninguém gosta de estar no vermelho. = No one likes to be in the red.
- Passei várias noites em branco preocupada com o trabalho. = I’ve spent several sleepless nights thinking about work.
- Milena me deu carta branca para criar o website dela. = Milena gave me free rein to create her website.
- Jéssica vê a vida cor-de-rosa. = Jéssica looks at life with rose-colored glasses.
- Finalmente recebi o sinal verde para contratar o novo funcionário. = I finally got the green light to hire the new employee.
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I love your blogs. This is a comment about a video of yours that I just saw with words that are often confused. You asked for other examples. I lived in Rio as an ex-pat many years ago. I went to a party where most of the guests were American ex-pats and heard the story that two newly arrived ex-pats had arrived at the party and asked for um cerveja. The server brought them ice cream! I never could understand how cerveja and sorvete could be confused, but when you think about it, the two stressed syllables are the same (ve), and if the Americans used a masculine article instead of feminine, that could explain it.
I had a similar experience in Colombia (but I think it could happen in Brazil). I got in a taxi and asked to be taken to the Cathedral (I must have said ‘al catedral’ instead of ‘a la catedral). I soon realized the driver was taking me to the hospital (masculine) instead! That brought home to me the importance of getting the article right.
I loved your story about the tesoura!
Oi, Alice! Thank you so much for these stories. I love them 🙂 When you put the wrong word gender together with an accent and add to that a listener that may not be used to foreigners, you have a recipe for great adventures, which may include an involuntary trip to the hospital 😀
Hi…I loved this article of yours.
I know that this is unrelated to Portuguese Grammer or so but I am a student who has to do the influence of color on Portuguese clothing for an assignment…and since this is related to the Portuguese is there any way or are there any examples that you could help me with please ?
Oi, Alana, obrigada.
Brazilians like to wear white on NYE and there is a reason for that. Also, women choose the color of their underwear for NYE according to what they hope to have in the coming year. I talk about it here: https://streetsmartbrazil.com/brazilian-new-years-eve-traditions-and-superstitions/
I hope this helps 🙂