In English, we have the word mania which denotes a mental illness marked by periods of euphoria. In Latin, it means “insanity, madness”. It’s lesser used, secondary English definition is “an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession”. In Brazilian Portuguese, the same word has the principal definition of “strange or ridiculous habit”, also “obsession, fad, or craze”. I give you examples below and their translation from Portuguese do English.
Pronunciation Tip: The word is pronounced in Portuguese with the emphasis on the “i”: “mania”.
- A Patricia tem mania de usar tênis no escritório.
= Patricia has a habit of wearing tennis shoes in the office.
As you can see, it’s not entirely strange but perhaps just not appropriate (depending on the rules of the particular office she works in).
In day-to-day use in Brazil, the word mania can just be something someone is used to doing, but next I’ll give an example where it might not be best to use the word.
- O professor tem mania de chegar à escola no início do dia.
= The teacher has the habit of arriving at school at the beginning of the day.
In this case above, I would suggest using estar habituado/a (to be used to) or even ter o hábito de (to have the habit of) rather than mania because it’s not odd in any way that a teacher gets to work in the morning. If, by chance, we knew more about the teacher (such as the fact that he only teaches night school), then surely it would be a rather strange habit.
Another way to express Brazilian Portuguese mania is with the word need, as in the example below.
- A sua mania de falar mais alto do que outras pessoas é demais.
= Your need to speak/habit of speaking louder than others is excessive.
There’s also the “obsession, fad, or craze” use case which you can see below.
- Tirar “selfie” no shopping virou mania entre os jovens.
= Taking a selfie in the mall became a fad among young people.
And, finally, it’s important to know that Brazilian Portuguese speakers can also use the word mania to refer to illness (ex, mania bipolar), in the same sense as its main English definition.