30+ Easy Portuguese Vocabulary For Family

Knowing how to reach out to the família or family members in Portuguese is essential if you’re planning to meet (or even create) a family in Portugal. Even if you’re meeting a friend, how cool would it be if you knew how to say Mom or Dad in Portuguese to call your hosts? To impress the locals and improve your understanding of this language better, keep reading below!

Portuguese Vocabulary For Family

potuguese family

Despite the English language being widely broadcasted and spoken in Portugal, it is very likely that older generations in the country don’t speak it at all. That leaves you with your hands tied if you want to meet your grandmother on your mother’s side, whom you had never met and that lives in Portugal. As you can expect, she won’t answer if you call her “grandmother,” but if you drop her with an avó or avózinha (granny), she will answer and give some love to her neto (grandson). 

This is why it is important to know a few words before heading to meet your Portuguese family. Better to be safe than sorry! But don’t worry, I’m here to help you manage a few words and be the star of the show when you head over there. In this article, I’m going to teach you everything to know about family in Portuguese.

If you want to go even more prepared, we have a blog filled with amazing articles that will enrich you, even more, your Portuguese vocabulary, with articles about several topics such as vocabulary about transportation, how to read addresses in Portugal or how to say cheers in Portuguese, all super useful information for your trip to this sunny country! But first, let’s see how you can approach several family members in Portuguese.

Tight Portuguese family with older generation

Traditions Among Portuguese Families

First of all, let’s learn how to say family in Portuguese: Família.

Family is the foundation of social life in Portugal. Proximity to the family strongly influences people’s lives, and most new couples decide to set shop somewhere close to their families. Even before this big step, meeting your other half family is a big milestone as you’re properly introduced and welcome to the family household.

The first thing you need to know is that proper nouns are not frequently used among Portuguese families. If you want to call your dad, you won’t use his name, but instead, you’ll call him pai (dad). Even if you meet a friend’s dad, it is nice to call him Dad as well.

As Portuguese families are usually very tight and united, it is traditional for them to get together on a frequent basis, normally to share a meal. Especially during Christmas, Portuguese families get together on Christmas Eve, where they share a big meal with several traditional Portuguese dishes, like boiled cod fish or octopus. 

Christmas dinner tradition portuguese family

Portuguese Diminutives: A Sweet Way To Call

Very frequently, you’ll hear Portuguese people using diminutives to call their family members. It is just exactly the same as saying “mommy” instead of “mom.” For the locals, it is considered a sweet and loving way to reach out to your mother.

In Portuguese, this variation is made by introducing the word “-inho” or “-inha” at the end of the word, so, for example, the word sister would be irmã, and little sister would irmãzinha. Super simple right?

This is when it gets tricky. Besides using this way to sweeten your calling, there are other slangish ways you can call your family members. For example, you can call your sister like mana for “sis.” You can also eat up some letters calling some family members, like using instead of avó for grandmother. Confused already? Don’t worry, you’ll get them! Firstly stick to the main words and then start introducing variations!

Grandmother holding grandson portuguese vocabulary

Portuguese Family Cheatsheet

As you can see, it can be a little tricky if you want to learn everything about how to call family members in Portuguese, but this is when I come to help you!

Below is a very useful cheat sheet that you can use to practice and memorize words about family, including in-laws. You can even press the little blue button and listen to the word spoken by a native speaker for you to master the pronunciation. Let’s get to work!

Família chegadaImmediate Family
Família afastadaExtended Family
Filho únicoOnly child
PrimoCousin (masculine)
PrimaCousin (feminine)
Primo de segundo grauSecond-cousin
Família adotivaFoster family

Wrapping up!


And that’s it! You’re now an expert on Portuguese vocabulary related to the family. But why stop here? If you want to know more about this ancient and fascinating language, then we at Ling App got the perfect Portuguese lessons for you!

Ling App is a language learning app with vocabulary and grammar lessons that will help you effectively learn any language you desire to learn, including Portuguese! Our lessons are fun, interactive, and comprehensive as they were created by real native speakers and language learning professionals. What’s even more interesting is that it is accessible anywhere and every time, so you can learn at your own pace!

So don’t waste more time. Download the app right now and become a Portuguese speaker in a heartbeat!

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