Virar is an interesting, useful verb in Portuguese. In this Portuguese lesson you will learn three meanings of the verb virar and two great Brazilian colloquial expressions with the verb. The lesson has 12 examples to make your proficient using the verb virar.
Virar is a regular verb ending in –AR. You can find all of its conjugations here.
1. Virar = to turn
The verb Virar literally means to turn. Here are examples using the verb:
- (imagine Carla reading a book or magazine) Carla virou a página e continuou lendo. = Carla turned the page and continued reading.
- (imagine someone giving you directions in Brazil) No próximo sinal, vire à direita. = At the next light, turn right.
We also use the expression virar a página (=to turn the page) metaphorically:
- Antônio sofreu muito quando Ana foi embora, mas ele finalmente virou a página. = Antônio suffered when Ana left, but he finally moved on.
2. Virar = to become something else, to turn into something
You probably know the popular saying:
“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”
“Justo quando a lagarta pensou que o mundo tinha acabado, ela virou uma borboleta.”
3. Virar-se = to turn around
Here we are using the verb Virar as a reflexive verb. I have a lesson about reflexive verbs. Visit the lesson with flashcards here.
- A girafa ouviu um barulho e se virou para ver o que era. = Cristiana heard noise and turned around to see what it was.
- Eu me virei para falar com João, perdi o equilíbrio e caí. = I turned around to talk to João, lost my balance, and fell.
Two Brazilian Idiomatic Expressions with the Verb Virar
Virar-se = to fend for yourself
Virar-se is by itself a colloquial expression that means to get by on one’s own, to manage on one’s own, to work it out for yourself, to fend for yourself.
This is a common Brazilian idiomatic expression and I’m sure you will find it useful.
Here are examples:
Malu não fala inglês, mas ela se vira quando vai aos Estado Unidos.
= Malu doesn’t speak English, but she manages on her own when she goes to the US.
Imagine Malu’s mom worried about her traveling by herself. Malu can say:
Não se preocupe comigo. Eu sei me virar. = Don’t worry about me. I know how to fend for myself.
Mom: Você sabe com ir do aeroporto para o hotel?
Malu: Mãe, fica tranquila. Eu me viro.
Mom: Do you know how to get from the airport to the hotel?
Malu: Mom, chill out. I’ll figure it out.
Sofia saiu de casa aos 17 anos e teve que se virar sozinha.
= Sofia left home when she was 17 and had to manage on her own.
Boss: Preciso desse relatório amanhã de manhã.
José: Eu tenho reuniões o dia todo hoje. Não vou ter tempo para preparar o relatório.
Boss: Se vira.
Boss: I need this report tomorrow morning.
José: I have meetings all day today. I won’t have time to prepare the report.
Boss: Figure it out.
Virar bicho = to lose it, to become very angry
Virar bicho means to lose one’s mind, to become very angry. Literally in Portuguese we are saying to turn into an animal.
Cristiano virou bicho quando o comissário de bordo não o deixou embarcar porque o voo estava superlotado.
= Cristiano lost it when the flight attendant didn’t let him board because the flight was overbooked.
To use your new vocabulary correctly you need lots of practice. There’s only so much that apps, books, and videos can do for your Portuguese.
You need to have real conversations with real people in order to take your fluency to the next level.
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