Everyone wants to sound good when speaking a foreign language. And everyone is self-conscious of sounding like they’re speaking from a textbook. Learning slang, colloquialisms, and idioms is a fun and engaging way to get excited about delving into a language. Plus, it keeps us from sounding overly formal when talking to natives.
The teachers at Street Smart Brazil can teach you perfect Portuguese for the most formal situations, but also believe that learners need to know what is formal, what is textbook language, and what they will find in Brazil in real life.
That’s why today’s post will start you on the path to becoming a Brazilian Portuguese slang expert. Let’s have some fun!
Portuguese Slang 101
One of the most useful and widespread Brazilian slang words, you can use legal to describe awesome people, clothes, places, situations, and anything else you can think of!
O show de ontem à noite foi muito legal! A banda tocou super bem.
The show last night was really cool! The band played very well.
We all know ônibus is the proper way to say “bus,” but if you don’t want to sound like a robot when asking for (or giving) directions, use busão instead.
Pega o busão, desce na Praça da Sé que você já chegou!
Take the bus, get off at Praça da Sé and you’re there!
3. Cola aí
Come on over
An easy way to be inviting and hospitable. Knowing how fun-loving Brazilians are, you’re going to use this one a lot!
Vamos fazer uma festa aqui em casa hoje à noite. Cola aí!
We’re having a party at home tonight. Come on over!
4. Foi mal!
Just like in English. There’s nothing wrong with “sinto muito,” but this will earn you more street cred if you accidentally bump into someone on the busão.
Te fechei no trânsito. Foi mal!
I cut you off in traffic. My bad!
5. Pisar na bola
Drop the ball
If you screw something up or let someone down in English, you say “to drop the ball.” But in Portuguese, we say “to step on the ball.”
Ele pisou na bola feio com ela quando foi viajar e a traiu com a menina local.
He let her down completely when he went out of town and cheated on her with the local girl.
- We have a whole post on the expression Pisar na Bola. Check it out!
Very drunk or high
Self-explanatory. Think about when you say someone’s “wasted,” “hammered,” or “crunk” — it’s the same idea.
Ele tomou oito tequilas e ficou completamente chapado na festa.
He drank eight tequilas and got completely drunk at the party.
So, which of these did you already know? Which do you suggest? Let us know, and happy slanging!