Learn Colloquial Brazilian Portuguese: Are you on Pindaíba? How to say you are broke


 Never had I seen a pindaíba tree. On my latest trip to the South of Brazil, more specifically, to the state of Santa Catarina, I could finally see a real pindaíba tree. It’s a tall tree, reaches up to 60ft, and has a multi-lobed red colored fruit. This tree is on the endangered species list, but it will probably live forever on the minds of Brazilians because of a very street smart expression.

In Brazilian Portuguese, when you want to say that you are broke, or short of money, you could say, "Estou na pindaíba". Of course, this is just one way to say it and I posted a short list of other expressions below.

The word pindaíba is a Tupi (language spoken by the native Brazilians) word that means fishing rod = pinda and fishing hook = iba. I, then, decided to look for the reasons why people use the word pindaíba to say that they are broke. I found many, from different sources, but the most interesting reads that "Estar na pindaíba" comes from back in the days when the native Brazilians – called índios in Portuguese – would go fishing and come back home with nothing but the pindaíba fishing rods.

Since then, when someone is going through a financial crisis we say:

  • “Ele está na pindaíba” (for a man)
  • “Ela está na pindaíba” (for a woman)

 Some other ways to say you are broke:

  • Tô liso (man) / Tô lisa (woman)
  • Tô quebrado (man) / Tô quebrada (woman)
  • Tô no vermelho (man and woman)

Do you know any other? Please, share with us!



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