20+ Funny Portuguese Phrases and Idioms + Their Meaning

Funny Phrases In Portuguese

If you’re anything like me, funny expressions in any language are something I immediately tend to lean into when learning a new language. The Portuguese language is no exception, and in this language, which is actually my native language, there are some pretty interesting and over-the-top funny Portuguese phrases and sentences that you’ll love to learn. 

Besides being fun to say and having a hilarious background, you definitely can score many points among locals if you show expertise in these sentences. I can guarantee that you’ll be able to break any ice that these warm people may have. You can thank me later!

Now, to give you an example, imagine this, you’ll be walking around the streets of Lisbon, and in a moment of distraction, you almost hit a local Portuguese. Besides saying peço desculpa (I’m sorry), you can also say Foi rés-vés Campo de Ourique, which in Portuguese means that it “was so close to Campo de Ourique.” This phrase comes from the big Tsunami in 1799 that hit Lisbon and almost reached an area on the top of the city of Lisbon called Campo de Ourique. Despite the sad story, saying it is just so funny! Try it on your next trip to Portugal!

For you to be able to mingle much better with the Portuguese folk, a warm and caring people, and possibly even earn the chance to have some fino (draft beer) with them, I’ve made this article where I gathered some of the more funny Portuguese expressions and sentences that you can learn for your next visit to this sunny country!

If you want to explore more about the Portuguese language before diving into funny phrases, then explore our blog and learn other topics, such as basic phrases that might be useful, how to say thank you in Portuguese, or a guide answering the question “Is Portuguese a hard language to learn?“.

Let’s get cracking!

Funny Phrases

Funny Portuguese Phrases And Sentences

1. Ir com os porcos – Go with the pigs

We’re starting our list with one particular sentence that I actually use many times when I’m home and I speak in Portuguese. The literal translation is “Go with the pigs,” and it basically means to pass away or to die. Portuguese people also use it when you want to say that, for example, a soccer team lost and got kicked out of the tournament, so Foi com os porcos – “went with the pigs”.

2. Acordar com os pés de fora – Wake up with their feet outside

This phrase is used when someone is showing the classic bad mood early in the morning. Portuguese people say that he Acordou com os pés de fora (Woke up with his feet outside), which basically means that he woke up with his feet outside covers and that led him to be in a bad mood. If this isn’t funny and totally relatable, I don’t know what is!

3. Barata Tonta – Silly cockroach

When someone is looking clumsy, lost, disoriented, or just silly, Portuguese people say that they are acting like a balata tonta (silly cockroach) because they look exactly like a cockroach when it gets sprayed!

4. Partir a loiça toda – Breaking all the dishes

Wow! You broke all the dishes! Basically, this phrase is used to say that someone was amazing at something and exceeded expectations!

5. À sombra da bananeira – In the banana tree’s shadow

When you see someone that doesn’t have a single care in his life, that doesn’t bother with anything, you can say that he is à sombra da bananeira, or in the shadow of a banana tree.

6. São muitos anos a virar frangos – It is many years flipping chickens

This might be one of the funnier ones and the one I use most regularly. This phrase is used when you want to say that someone has a lot of experience, so basically, he has many years flipping chicken, a strong reference to the many roasted chicken restaurants that exist in Portugal.

7. Pulga atrás da orelha – Flea behind the ear

The Portuguese people say that someone has a Pulga atrás da orelha (Flea behind their ear) when they are looking suspicious. This funny sentence is also used when you want to say that someone is preparing something.

8. Água pela barba – Water by the beard

When something is really hard, and you have to work a lot to get it, you can say that you have agua pela barba, or water by the beard to say how much you’re “drowning” in work.

9. Estar com os azeites – Be with the olives

Portuguese people are a very happy and uplifting people, however, there are times (like when Portugal is kicked out of the World Cup by Morocco) when we get angry, and at that time we say that someone “is with the olives.”

10. Cabeça d’Alho chocho – Head of a dry garlic

Imagine someone that never knows where they put anything, is completely air-headed, and is very distracted. This is a cabeça d’alho chocho, or a head of dry garlic. 

Tirar o cavalinho da chuva

11. Tirar o cavalinho da chuva – Get the horse out of the rain

This phrase is used when you want to say to someone not to expect what they’re asking, for them not to count on what they are saying.

12. Meter água – Put water

In a clear reference to sinking boats, when someone is doing something wrong or already did something wrong, Portuguese people say that the person meteu água, or put water.

13. Queimar as pestanas – Burn the eyelashes

This is a phrase that I can relate to a lot. The direct translation is “burn the eyelashes,” and it basically means that you’re studying or reading a lot, to the point that your eyelashes will auto-ignite and burn! This literally never happened to anyone, but when I was in the university, I really saw how this phrase is super accurate!

14. Pão Pão Queijo Queijo – Bread Breaf Cheese Cheese

This sentence means that something is what it is, as simple as that!

15. Falar pelos cotovelos – Speak by the elbows

Some people simply talk a lot! In Portugal, we say that the person fala pesos cotovelos, or speaks by the elbows, which means that the person speaks a lot!

16. Vai pentear macacos! – Go comb monkeys!

One of the less aggressive ways to say in Portuguese for someone to go away. When you want them to leave, get lost, or just stop annoying you, just say Vai pentear macacos!

Vai chatear o camoes

17. Chatear Camões – Bother Camões

Another phrase you can use to get somebody to stop bothering is Vai chatear Camões! Which means to go bother Camões, a very famous Portuguese poet that lived many many years ago. In a very ominous way, we’re telling that person to go to the cemetery and bother a grave!

18. Ter muita lata – Have a lot of cans

When someone has a lot of nerve and effrontery, Portuguese people say that person them muita lata (has a lot of cans).

19. Ter macaquinhos na cabeça – Having little monkeys in the head

This phrase is used to say someone has a reason to be suspicious or distrustful. When that happens, they “have little monkeys in their head.”

20. Estou-me nas tintas – I’m in the inks

This phrase is used when people don’t give a damn about something. In that case, you basically say you’re in the inks with something or someone.

21. Engolir sapos – Swallow frogs

I’ll give you a hint: All of us, eventually, have to do this at least once in our life. Did you get it? No? Basically, in Portuguese, when you have to do something you don’t want to or you have to hear something you don’t like and accept, you’re basically “swallowing frogs.” I know I’ve swallowed a lot in my life!

22. Ficar com um melão – Stay with a melon

Unfortunately, I can also relate to this phrase. The English translation is “stay with a melon,” and it basically means that someone is upset because something bad happened, and you’re so angry and embarrassed that your head is as big as a melon. You cannot imagine the number of times I’ve received memes on my WhatsApp groups where my head is a melon when my soccer team loses to our big rival! Arrrrgghhhh, I get so mad!

23. Rés-vés Campo de Ourique – Just by Campo de Ourique

Just like I told you, this sentence is said when something happens really close to something or if something ended up or passed by really close to someone.

24. Meter a pata na poça – Put the paw in the puddle

It basically means you’re screwing up. Try not to be the one being told this!

25. Estou feito ao bife – I’m made like a steak

One of the most used Portuguese expressions, it means that someone is in a tough spot and something bad is about to happen.

26. Para inglês ver – For English to see

Do you know when someone does something just for other people to think they are doing something? They are doing it just para inglês ver (For English to see).

27. Boa como o milho – Good as corn

Have you seen the corn kid on TikTok? There is no better example to explain this sentence. When you say someone is boa como o milho, or “good as corn,” it just means they are very beautiful and sexy.

28. Ir desta para melhor – Go from this one to better

Ending on a sour note, this phrase means that someone died. Looking at the sentence, it was made to mean that someone suffering went to a better place where he is not suffering anymore.

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That’s it! You just learned 24 funny phrases in Portuguese that you can use with your Portuguese friends. I wish I was a fly on the wall to see their faces when you use these sentences!

Just as I expected, after reading this article, you’re now hooked on learning Portuguese and want my expertise on the best place to learn it. I have two words for you – Ling app.

Ling App is a language learning application that teaches you languages from all over the world, including Portuguese, through fun and interactive games! You can forget the traditional and boring classes and textbooks; with the Ling app, you can learn anywhere and anytime, just by the simple click of a button (or a screen): your smartphone! This application sits perfectly on your phone to be accessible 24/7, whenever your desire kicks in!

Join the other millions of users, download the Ling app now and join in for the ride of learning Portuguese!

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