There are two common exclamations in Brazilian Portuguese that refer to the Virgin Mary. Both phrases are said in moments of surprise and both can be shortened several times over. Let’s take a look.
Nossa Senhora (Our Lady) can become simply Nossa!, which I’m sure you’ve heard a Brazilian say before. It’s also in that one song which I’m trying hard to forget, lol. Nossa, in turn, can become just Nó!, but this extra short version gives away one’s home state since it’s usually only people from Minas Gerais that say it.
Virgem Maria (Virgin Mary), in much the same way, is used for the same purpose, as I mentioned earlier. I have rarely, if ever, heard a Brazilian saying the entire phrase when surprised, instead they’ll say Vixi Maria! What happens next, you ask? It gets shorter, of course! Next comes Vixi! and after that…wait for it…ixi! Keep in mind, the latter two versions are used more in the north and northeast of Brazil.
Bonus: The similarly used (Bahian) phrase “Oh minha gente!” becomes “ôxente!”, which then becomes “ôxe!”
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