I Love Portuguese: Version 1

So much here relies on my learning the Portuguese language, so I’ve decided to take note of some of the.. er.. interesting words that I’ve recently learned.

Much of the Brazilian slang that exists in this country seems to be state or city specific, (like in the States, except with, like, double the amount of slang), so most of these words are going to be very specific to the city of Rio.

..And that is just another one of those things about Rio that makes it so damn hard (and sometimes fun) to understand each and every single person I meet. :)

  • danada – noun. A “sick” person (as in capable of doing something amazing), a badass, someone who is crazy good.
    However, I’m also told this can also mean something negative, like an actual crazy/sick person.. But I’ve never heard anyone use it in that way before.
  • bad, bad trip – adjective. Bad, unenjoyable, annoying, terrible.
    This is an English word that has been “portuguesized.” They pronounce it like the word “badge.” Not kidding. It’s hilarious to me. It’s used like “A balada naquela noite foi uma bad, broder..” which translates to “Dude, that party the other night sucked..” See? Hilarious right?
  • meu bem – noun. sweetheart, sweetie
    This is a phrase that couples might use to call one another. It appears to have been primarily popular in the 60s-80s, and is rarely used now. Also, it carries the same somewhat sickening connotation that “sweetheart” carries in English. It literally translates to “my good” or perhaps “my sweet”.
  • sacanagem – noun. bullshit
    I should point out that, though I’ve translated it as “bullshit,” “sacanagem” isn’t seen as a bad word in Portuguese. However, it’s meaning is exactly the same. Translating it as “trickery” or “dirty trick” doesn’t do the word justice! EDIT: A Brazilian friend just told me this IS kind of a bad word, so not to use it around older people. And the original meaning is “kinky sex” or an “orgy.” Bahahaha, I didn’t know!
  • vacabitch, asshole (for a woman) 
    Why, yes, Spanish-speakers, this is indeed also the word for “cow.”
  • bora – interjection. Come on! Go!
    A shortened version of the word “embora,” which is one of those funny words that means everything. “Embora” can mean despite, even though, outside (of someone’s possession, for example), to leave, to split, to get out of someplace, etc.
  • tipo, tipo assim – interjection. “Like…” “It was like..”
    Of course Brazilians have a “like.” I’d like to see a language that doesn’t. Latin doesn’t count.
  • esparadrapo – noun. athletic tape
    The only reason this word even comes up is because of Jiu Jitsu (everyone eventually has to start taping their fingers after they train with a gi for long enough, that shit hurts!). When a fellow training partner first said this word I made him say it like 5 times before I was sure I could remember it.
  • jejum – noun. waking up and not eating anything
    Yep, they have a word for it. It’s kind of like fasting, but it seems to be particular to the the time after you wake up in the morning. It’s also used often in a religious context (I didn’t even know this was a religious ritual, but there you go).  It’s like what I do on weekend mornings, when I’m so lazy I can’t get myself out of bed for 3 hours, even though I’m awake, and I lay there in a pile of my own hunger, ignoring the pain and the sounds coming from my stomach because damn it feels good to be laying down in my bed.

And maybe one of these days I’ll finally look up the proper ways to conjugate all the forms of ver (to see) and vir (to come), because, damn, they’re confusing. Although, the nice thing is that I really only need to learn the first and third person present and past tenses. Fuck all the rest, no one uses them.

Oh, and also fuck remembering the difference between soube (he knew), sobe (he climbs), and sob (underneath). Why, yes, they are all three pronounced PRACTICALLY THE SAME. Although, now that I think about it, it must be equally difficult for foreigners learning English to at first recognize the differences between hear, here, hair, hare, hire, and higher.


Okay. I’m going to go back to trying to read this novel written in Portuguese (which was made into a television series in 2010) about young, privileged, adulterous, and conniving women living in Rio in the 70s.

Me, attempting to read "As Cariocas." In Portuguese. Ay meu deus..

Me, attempting to read “As Cariocas.” In Portuguese. Ay meu deus..

Yes, that is actually what I look like when I read things in Portuguese.


2 responses to “I Love Portuguese: Version 1

  1. Pingback: I Love Portuguese!: Version 2 | RayRay in Rio!·

  2. It’s 2:39am and I came across this post looking for a definition of “meu bem” even though I knew what it meant, but was unsure if there was another possible meaning for it… Anyway, I was drawn in to the interesting info and hung on by your way with words, and now feel compelled to leave a comment telling you that I am looking forward to reading more of your stuff as I, too, love Portuguese! Cheers:)

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