10 Portuguese Idioms Brazilians Use Every Day

10 Portuguese Idioms Brazilians Use Every day graphic

Portuguese is a colourful language. The Brazilians paint a picture with their words and their gestures. Here is a quick guide to 10 Portuguese idioms Brazilians use all the time. Also refer to our article 5 Brazilian Idioms you need in your life.


Deu pau

Literal translation: gave stick.

Meaning: stopped working.

My Ipad gave stick yesterday = My IPad broke yesterday or stopped working.


A vida não é mole, não

Literal translation: life is not soft, no.

Meaning: Life is hard.

Generally used to say life has been tough recently.


O bicho vai pegar

Literal translation: the bug is going to catch.

Meaning: Sh*t is going to hit the fan.

He crashed her car yesterday, so the bug is going to catch = He crashed her car yesterday, so she is going to go mental.


De leve

Literal translation: of light (weight)

Meaning: Take it easy or do it calmly.

Today I’m going to drink of light = Today I’m not going to get blindly drunk


Segurando a minha onda

Literal translation: holding my wave.

Meaning: Keeping you going, mostly financially.

This job is just holding my wave = This job is getting me by and paying my bills.


A ficha caiu

Literal translation: the form fell.

Meaning: I suddenly realised or it sunk in.

I didn’t know what I’d agreed to then the form fell = I suddenly realised I’d taken too much on.


Dar água na boca

Literal translation: give water in the mouth

Meaning: make you drool.

This chocolate cake is giving water in the mouth = This chocolate cake is making me drool. I have to eat it now.


Conversa para boi dormir

Literal translation: talk so the cow sleeps

Meaning: Saying things that don’t mean anything, just filling up time or to make someone leave you alone.

I asked for a raise and my boss just talked so the cow slept = I asked for a raise and my boss changed the subject or agreed and never followed through.


Encher a cara

Literal translation: fill the face

Meaning: get blindly drunk

My job is the worst, let’s go fill the face = My job is the worst, let’s go get stupidly drunk.


Dar o bolo

Literal translation: give the cake.

Meaning: Not turning up or ghosting someone.

You gave me cake at the weekend = You never turned up or you cancelled plans to meet up.

Any other idioms Brazilians use all the time?



You may also enjoy reading Ways to Expand Your Portuguese Vocabulary, Common Pronunciation Mistakes in Portuguese or 30 Portuguese Phrases You Should Know.

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