Gíria is the word for slang in Portuguese. This is an important word to know because in Brazil, there is a lot of it! “Brazilian slang” doesn’t mean anything though, because unlike in the United States where the slang is pretty universal (except for maybe a few words), the gíria in Brazil varies widely depending on the region that one is from. For instance, oftentimes paulistas (people from Sao Paulo) might not fully understand cariocas (people from Rio) and vice versa.
In all of Brazil, certain words are shortened when speaking and in informal speech, such as texting. While this is not necessarily considered giria, you must be familiar with this if you want to communicate with Brazilians. Most commonly, you will see the following:
Example: Vc vem de onde? (Where are you from?)
Estou –> to
Example: To em casa agora. (I’m at home now.)
Example: Vc tá aqui? (Are you here?)
Example: Tamos terminados agora (We are finishing now.)
While there is some gíria that is universal, most remains regional. If you are heading to Rio, take a look at some of the most used gíria carioca (Rio slang) so that you sound like a true local…just be sure not to use any of this with your future boss!
mermão (agglutination of “meu”+”irmão”): my brother (something you might call a friend or even a stranger…goes to show how friendly Brazilians are!)
Example: Mermão, o que vc tá fazendo agora? (My brother, what are you doing now?)
caô (mentira): a lie
Example: Rodrigo sempre fala caô/Rodrigo sempre manda uns caôs. (Rodrigo always tells lies.)
Note: In this context, mandar means “falar” or “to tell” However, it generally means “to send.”
coé (agglutination of “qual” + “é”/oì): hey
Example: Coé mermão! E aì?
bolado (irritado; surpreso): irritated; surprised
Example #1: To bolado porque eu não consigo te ver. (I’m upset because I can’t see you).
Example #2: Viu o gol que o botafogo fez? Fiquei bolado. (Did you see the goal that Botafogo made? I was surprised.)
na moral (bem legal): better than expected; cool
Example #1: A festa foi na moral!! (The party was better than I expected!!)
Example #2: Fica na moral, aí. (Keep it cool there.)
é nós (estamos juntos!): you can count on me!
Example: Valeu irmão, to indo nessa! é nós! (Ok dude, I’m heading out! You can count on me!)
já é! (ok!; vamos!): ok!; let’s go! (depending on context)
-Vou ligar pra gente marcar uma parada! (I’ll call you so that we can do something!)
-Já é! (Ok!)
-A gente vai na festa agora? (Are we going to the party now?)
–Já é! (Let’s go!)
ta fechado! (ta combinado!): that works!/sounds good!
-A gente se vê na sexta? (I’ll see you on Friday?)
-Ta fechado! (Sounds good!)
vazar (sair): to leave
Example: To vazando agora, então a gente se fala. (I’m leaving now so we’ll speak later.)
pode crer (é verdade): Right on! Word!
-A gente esqueceu de comprar cerveja! (We forgot to buy beer!)
– Pode crer! (Right on!)
zoar (se diverter; sacanear): to have fun; to make fun of
-Vc zuou na festa ontém? (Did you have fun at the party yesterday?)
Quick side note: As shown in the above example, Brazilians will often respond to a yes or no question with just the conjugated verb.
Example #2: Eles estão me zoando. (They are making fun of me)
valeu (tchau/obrigada): goodbye/thank you (depending on context)
Example #1: Vou sair agora. Valeu! (I’m leaving now. Bye!)
Example #2: Agora eu entendi…valeu! (Now I understand…thank you!)
partiu! (Vamos!) let’s go!
-Partiu Lapa hoje? (Let’s go to Lapa tonight?)
-Partiu! (Let’s go!)
rolar (acontecer): to happen
Example: O que rolou hoje?? (What happened today?)
pica das galáxias/sinistro: badass
Example: Esse cara é pica das galáxias/sinistro!! (That guy is a total badass.)
sacar/se ligar (entender): to understand/to get something
Example: Vc tá sacando/tá ligado no que eu to dizendo? (Are you following/getting what I’m saying?)
caraca (nossa!): wow!
Example: Caraca! Eu adoro seu corte de cabelo! (Wow! I love your haircut!)
moleque AKA mlk (garota/cara): a guy
Example: Aquele moleque é bem bacana. (That guy is really cool.)
Side note #1: cariocas will use “cara” and “moleque” not only to refer to someone (i.e.: Esse cara é muito legal. That guy is really cool.), but also when speaking with someone directly (i.e.: fala aì, cara! What’s up man?!); meanwhile, other Brazilians only use “cara” to refer to someone.
Side note #2: Moleque is an insult in the south of Brazil and can also be an insult in Rio, depending on the way that it’s used (translating to “punk”); in the south of Brazil, you can actually get in fights if you call somebody this. But have no fear: in Rio, it generally just translates to “guy.”
ta de sacanagem?! (ta de brincadeira?!) Are you kidding me?!
-O Joao pegou a minha namorada… (Joao hit my girlfriend…)
-ta de sacanagem! (Are you kidding me!)
maluco (cara): guy
Example: Os dois malucos sao altos com o cabelo castanho. (The two guys are tall with brown hair).
irado (legal): awesome
Example: O Rio é uma cidade irada. (Rio is an awesome city.)
tu (você): you (When speaking informally, many cariocas use “tu” instead of “você. But they don’t change the conjugation…which is why it’s called slang!)
Example: Tu foi na academia hoje? (Did you go to the gym today?)
pingado (uma xícara de café com leite): a cup of coffee with milk
Example: Me vê um pingado. (I would like a coffee.–>Literally: Let me see the coffee.)
pista (balada): nightclub
Example: Tinham muitos pessoas na pista ontém a noite? (Were there a lot of people at the club last night?)
estar na pista: to be present; to be out on the prowl (single and ready to mingle)
Example #1: Só avisa par ele que eu to na pista. (Just tell him that I’m here/I will be there.)
Example #2: Ele tem um namorada ou ta na pista? (Does he have a girlfriend or is he out on the prowl?)
tirar onda: to show off
Example #1: Ele tira onda com esse carro! (He is showing off with that car!)
Note: Here is where it gets tricky…Paulistas also use this expression, but with a totally different meaning. Cariocas and Paulistas thus both use the expression “tirar onda,” but in entirely different ways.
parada (coisa): thing
Example: Eu tenho que comprar algumas paradas. (I have to buy a few things.)
That should be enough to get you started…If you really want to sound like a carioca, learn about the accent here.