Expressões Idiomáticas I

Idiomatic expressions, or idioms, are expressions that you shouldn’t interpret literally. They have a symbolic meaning, which is rarely maintained when they are translated into other languages. These expressions reflect the customs and history of the country and are part of all conversations of the Portuguese, rich or poor, from North to South of Portugal. They often incorporate slang words and can be used to convey irony, exaggeration, or impatience, or even just to save time.
Or, as we say in Portugal:
Poupar o nosso latimSpare our latin
This expression, Poupar latimSpare latin, is itself idiomatic, and is based on the fact that Portuguese is a language originating from Latin.
 
During the 1755 earthquake, two convents collapsed in Lisbon, one with the name Carmo and one with the name Trindade. It was here that the expression “Cair o Carmo e a Trindade” appeared, which initially meant terror and panic. Although it still retains that meaning, nowadays it is often used in an ironic tone, when you fear the consequences of something unimportant. For example:
Ui, parece que caiu o Carmo e a Trindade!Yikes, it looks like the crap hit the fan

There is another expression which, supposedly, also originated on that terrible day. We are talking about “resvés Campo de Ourique” – resvés meaning “by an inch” and Campo de Ourique is an area of Lisbon that narrowly escaped the destruction caused by the earthquake.
Foi mesmo résvés Campo de OuriqueYou cut it pretty close
Another old idiom, one that makes reference to the lifestyle that the French General Junot and his soldiers maintained during the French invasions is, “à grande e à Francesa“. It means “with luxury and abundance” or, more literally, “in a big and French way”. You can use it, for example, when having dinner at a buffet or, ironically, if someone keeps asking you for things, favors, or money.
Isto aqui é tudo à grande e à Francesa!We do it big here!
If you have a lot of experience in a specific job or know a lot about a particular subject, “muitos anos a virar frangos” is an expression you can start using. Although the literal meaning is “many years turning chickens”, it’s not just for those who cook chicken on a barbecue. If someone says to you “Wow, you sure know what you’re doing!”, you can reply by simply saying:
São muitos anos a virar frangosI know the ropes
 
Keeping the theme of Portuguese gastronomy, we have the expression “encher chouriços“, which means “filling chouriços”, with chouriço being a type of Portuguese blood sausage. We use it whenever we have to wait for something or someone and, during that wait, carry out useless or unimportant activities. In these cases, we can say that:
A professora estava a encher chouriços na aula The teacher was padding out the lesson
 
When a problem is easy to solve you can say that “é de caras”. People also use it when something is obvious.
Mas isso é de caras!But that's easy!
However, “de caras” can also appear preceded by the verb dar (to give). For example,  “dei de caras com o Paulo”, which means you bumped into Paulo while doing something else.
 
Feito num oito” means “messed up” and it can be used literally if someone is hurt or figuratively, if the person is in a tough situation.
Ele ficou feito num oitoHe's all messed up
Of course there are also idioms related to death. One that is very common is “bater as botas“, which is a simple euphemism for dying. There are other similar ones, such as “esticar o pernil” (literally “stretch the leg”) and “ir desta para melhor” (literally “move to a better one”).
Parece que ele bateu as botasLooks like he died
Estive quase a ir desta p'ra melhorI almost died
There are many, many other expressions like these, and you can learn them all in the following lessons. Get ready for some laughs!

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