European Portuguese slang

European Portuguese Slang

You have been learning to speak and write proper Portuguese, but not every Portuguese person speaks perfectly 100% of the time. Depending on the context, we might prefer using simpler terms to save time, explain something in a different way, joke around, or even fit in with a group. That’s where gíria popular – or just gíria paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio slang comes in. Let’s take a look at some of the most common European Portuguese slang words.

Ya

Ya, eu vou ter convosco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Yeah, I'll meet you guys
Ya Play normal audio – also found written as – is often, but not exclusively, used by young people. It simply means Sim paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Yes, but can also replace, or be replaced by, Claro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Of course, Certo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Right, or even Uh-huh.

Eu não sei, ! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I don't know, man!
paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio is one of the slang trademarks of the European Portuguese dialect. It can be used at the end of sentences to emphasize what’s being said, as in the example above. It can also be used in place of  “uhh…”, the sound you make when you’re thinking.
... não sei o que te diga paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Well... I don't know what to tell you
It’s so common, though, that some people end every sentence with it, even when speaking normally, which makes it sort of like a spoken comma. Epá Play normal audio and Opá Play normal audio are alternate versions, usually appearing in the beginning of a sentence or as interjections. Pá also means shovel, but they rarely appear together, so there won’t be any confusion.

Meu

Não sei, meu paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I don't know, man
The pronoun meu paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio , which means mine, can also be used to say man or dude and appears in most of the same contexts as . Since it’s masculine, it’s used when speaking to a male.

Tipo

Sabes, tipo, quando fomos ao cinema na segunda? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Do you know, like, when we went to the movies on Monday?
When speaking informally, we often make use of filler words. In English there’s like; in Portuguese there’s tipo Play normal audio . As is the case with its English equivalent, this one is also extensively, but not exclusively, used by teenagers. Tipo can also be used to say that guy, with the female form, tipa Play normal audio , meaning that gal. Tipo is also the word for type. Mixing it up with other slang:
Tipo ya... foi isso que eu lhe disse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Like yeah... that's what I told him

Fixe

Another popular term is fixe paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio which means cool, but also nice and good. It can be used in a variety of ways and contexts, such as:
Ele é um tipo fixe paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio He's a cool guy
A viagem foi muito fixe, adorei paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The trip was really nice, I loved it
Tens uma casa muito fixe! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio You have a pretty cool house!

Other Common European Portuguese Slang Terms

There are far too many slang terms in Portuguese to discuss them all here, but we’ve compiled some of the most popular below:

  • a imperial paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 20cl draft beer (in the South) o fino paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 20cl draft beer (in the North)
  • bué paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio a lot
  • muita paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio very (a variation of the adverb 'muito')
  • Play normal audio man, dude (interjection) meu paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio man, dude (interjection)
  • fixe paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesomebaril paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesome
  • porreiro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesome (masc)porreira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesome (fem)
  • o bacano paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesome (masc)a bacana paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cool, awesome (fem)
  • o gajo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio guy, fella o tipo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio guy, fella
  • o fulano paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio guy, fellao bacano paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio guy, fella
  • a tipa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio gal, chick (woman)a fulana paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio gal, chick (woman)
  • a bacana paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio gal, chick (woman)a gaja paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio gal, chick (warning: offensive!)
  • népia paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio nope
  • a cena paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio thing, stuff, scene (literal)
  • o guito paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio moneya massa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio money (literal: mass, or pasta)o carcanhol paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio money
  • a bebedeira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio drunkennessa bezana paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio drunkennessa buba paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio drunkenness
  • brutal paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio awesome (literal: brutal)altamente paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio awesome
  • uma beca paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio a bit
  • a larica paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio munchiesa fomeca paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio munchies
  • bora paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio let's gobora lá paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio let's go
  • a malta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio group of people or friendso pessoal paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio group of people or friends
  • a boleia paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio ride
  • foleiro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio lamechunga paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio lamerasca paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio lame
  • canja paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio a piece of cake, i.e. very easy (literal: chicken soup)
  • o briol paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cold (literal: nautical buntline)o grizo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio cold

Slang Usage of Verbs

‘Tar

European Portuguese slang isn’t just made up of nouns and adjectives; there are also verbs. One of the most used is ‘tar, which is a shortened version of estar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to be(temporary).
Eu (es) tou me a sentir bem paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I'm feeling good
Eu (es) tive em casa dele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I was at his place
Notice that the clipped version of estar is the same as the verb ter paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to have in the simple past tense, but the context lets us know which one is being used. We can also mix it with other slang and get:
Ya, o filme (es) fixe paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Yeah, the film is good

Curtir

Some verbs present in gíria popular can take on a very different meaning from their literal one. For example, as slang, curtir paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to tan(leather) , to like(slang) means gostar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to like, but its literal meaning is to tan, as in treating animal hide and turning it into leather.
Curti bastante o filme paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I liked the movie a lot
While the verb gostar is usually followed by the preposition de, curtir can be followed by just o/a/os/as. Another version is:
Curtir com alguém paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio To make out with someone (slang)

Other popular verbs used as slang

Verb Examples
gozar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to make fun of, to kid Eu gozei com ele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I made fun of him Gozaram comigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio They made fun of me
bazar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to leave Tenho de bazar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I have to leave Bazei da festa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I left the party
lixar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to screw off Estás lixado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio You're screwed Vai-te lixar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Screw off
gamar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to steal Fui gamado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I was robbed Gamei estas bolachas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I stole these cookies
sacar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to take, download Ele sacou-lhe o dinheiro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio He took his money Saquei o filme paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I downloaded the movie

Of course there are many more slang terms, as well as many ruder words that weren’t mentioned here but that are a part of our daily conversations. Some of those will appear in a future Learning Note. 😉

Comments

  • Ahhhhh! And I thought ‘Ta’ was a specific word!!! I have been using it, as I hear it spoken, so now I know! Very useful, thankyou.

  • Canja – A piece o cake. In the uk we have a saying “It’s a piece of cake”, meaning I’ts really easy. Does Canja have the same connotation – É muito façil, or is it really Uma fatia de bolo?

    • Thanks for asking – I see that that wasn’t clear before 🙂 This is definitely “canja” as in “very easy” -> “Oh, isto é canja!” (Oh, this is really easy!).

      The actual word “canja” is for a type of soup, not cake!

    • Canja is a very simple to make chicken rice soup, in Portuguese. “” Isso e’ canja” could be translated by a very different recipe, in American English: “As easy as pie!”. The last one is not to be served as soup, I hope.

  • I am in my second year of living in the rural north of Portugal. Finding this section on ‘Gíria’ will help me immensely. I will now be able to better understand my neighbours. Having studied Portuguese for some time now I thought they were speaking a different language!!

    • Hi, Laurent! “Lixado” is one of those rainbow words with lots of different possible colours depending on the context – and that’s true for any part of the country 🙂 You can use it to mean that you’re exhausted, that you’re screwed, that you’re a badass, etc.

  • Excellent summation PP.
    The most important for me was to learn that “uma imperial” is mainly southern. I therefore committed two sins when I was in Braga. I asked for “uma imperial” ………of Sagres!!

  • Do you know if there are other more extensive pages on learning Portuguese slang? I’m trying to translate some songs but it seems there’s a lot of words I’m not getting. I could only assume it’s because of slang haha

    • Hmm, I don’t know of any, but I will let you know if I come across something. If you’re a member, you could try asking in our forum: https://forum.practiceportuguese.com/ as that’s usually a good place to get recommendations on things like this. We also have a unit that lets you practice these slang terms. Let me know if there are particular words/phrases you’re looking for and we could work on adding more to our content.

  • Thank you for letting me know. I thought so but I think it’s probably ok to throw it in some slang expression now and then. We just shouldn’t over do it!

  • We have used a particular local handyman for some time and he regularly says Epá, and I have often wondered what it meant – now I now!!

  • Thanks for this – very helpful! I’ve heard “”ta bem” said numerous times without realising it comes from estar! Also “ta cá” which I couldn’t work out at all, now I gather it means “you’re here”?

  • I had a text from our neighbour in Portugal when I complained about the travel restrictions “O pá paciencia” ..?

    • “Ó pá” is meaningless, just a filler. But we do use it a lot. Your neighbour is basically shrugging in words, saying that we just have to deal with it 🙂

  • Thank you Joseph, one last one on slang. The village we visit near Santarem, any words or verbs ending in the letter “r” seem to attract an “e” on the end? So the town of Tomar for example, becomes Tomare with a soft “uh” on the end. Is this regional or just our neighbours would you know?

    • You’re welcome! The ‘re’ thing wouldn’t be slang, just an accent variation, which seems to be regional, yes. However, I don’t think it’s exclusive to the region where Santárem is (Ribatejo), because I’ve heard it from people in other parts of the country 🙂

  • It would be great if the literal as well as figurative meaning for each word or phrase were given. A lot of work, I realize, but misuse of slang is one best way for one to look like a real cheechako.

    • Thanks for the comment, Albert. Most of these terms don’t really have any other uses. The few exceptions include “massa” and “canja”. We’ve updated the Learning Note 🙂

    • It seems to have a restricted use in the nautical world as a term that describes a type of cable. It can also refer to cheap wine. Personally, I only ever hear people using it to say that it’s cold 🙂

  • I assume that you are bowdlerizing this as Screw off as Portuguese keyboards do not have a Kappa ?

    • “Vai-te lixar” is not as strong as the English expression I think you’re thinking about; that’s why we went with “Screw off” 🙂

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