The other day I was talking to a good friend who is from São Paulo. We hadn’t had a good chat in a while. It was great to catch up.
Being from São Paulo, my friend uses the word Cara quite a lot. She uses it as I explain in section 5 in this post.
But the funny thing is that the word cara came up in a couple other ways in our conversation. Being a word geek, I couldn’t help but notice it.
We were discussing how things are so expensive here in Brazil. We used an idiomatic expression with the word cara to express that idea.
Then I mentioned how surprised I was with a few things. The word cara made its way again into our conversation through a different colloquial expression.
So here it is for you: 5 idiomatic expressions with the word cara in Brazilian Portuguese. Use these expressions to sound natural and cool when speaking with your Brazilian friends and family!
At the end of the article, I give you links to 3 additional expressions with cara.
Ready? Keep learning.
1. Estar na cara
Meaning: to be obvious.
You know when you can tell that someone is upset (or happy or angry) just by looking at their face? Even if that person denies the emotion, we can see it clearly on their face. That is the meaning of “estar na cara”. Literally it means “to be on the face”.
Want to sound more natural?
You might already know that here in Brazil we rarely say the verb Estar with all its syllables. In spoken Brazilian Portuguese and in informal written Portuguese, we drop the first syllable.
I will use the informal shortened Estar in the examples below to help you practice. Your Portuguese will sound more natural this way.
For written professional communication, use the verb with all its syllables.
1) Leve um guarda-chuva com você. Tá na cara que vai chover. (opening picture)
= Take an umbrella with you. It definitely looks like it will rain.
2) Tá na cara que você não acredita em mim.
= It’s obvious that you don’t believe me.
3) Paulo devia estar aqui há 30 minutos. Tá na cara que ele não vem para a reunião.
= Paulo should have been here 30 minutes ago. It is obvious that he is not coming to the meeting.
2. Ser a cara de alguém
Meaning: to look just like someone, to be the spitting image of someone
1) Aninha é a cara da mãe.
= Aninha looks just like her mother.
2) Tiago é cara do pai.
= Tiago is the spitting image of his father.
3) Cris, a Aninha é a sua cara!
= Cris, Aninha is your spitting image.
3. Custar os olhos da cara
Meaning: to be very expensive; to cost an arm and a leg
Literally translated: to cost the eyes of your face
1) A comida aqui é maravilhosa, mas custa os olhos da cara.
= The food here is wonderful, but it costs an arm and a leg.
2) Produtos de tecnologia no Brasil custam os olhos da cara.
= Technology products in Brazil cost an arm and a leg.
4. Ficar de cara
Meaning: to feel surprised, to be in disbelief.
1) Todo mundo ficou de cara quando o Brasil perdeu de 7 a 1 para a Alemanha.
= Everyone was in disbelief Brazil lost 7 – 1 to Germany.
2) Eu tenho um negócio inacreditável pra te contar. Você vai ficar de cara.
= I have something unbelievable to tell you. You will be in disbelief.
3) Fiquei de cara quando Paloma pediu demissão do trabalho.
= I was very surprised when Paloma quit her job.
By itself, cara can mean “dude”.
1) Cara, estou exausto hoje.
= Dude, I am exhausted today.
2) Calma, cara. Você não vai resolver nada dessa forma.
= Calm down, dude. You won’t find a solution to anything this way.
2 Additional Expressions with the Word Cara
I have two additional great expressions with the word cara in my book 51 Portuguese Idioms – Speak Like a Brazilian. Get the book at Amazon.com to make your Portuguese smarter and sound really good speaking the language.
One more: Livrar a cara
Yes, cara, I know! We have so many expressions with the word Cara.
I explain the expression Livrar a cara in another blog post. Learn it here.
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