Fruit terms in Portuguese

General Fruits

Apple – Maçã
Avocado – Abacate
Banana – Banana
Blackberry – Amora silvestre
Cherry – Cereja
Grape – Uva
Lime – Limão (or Limão-verde)
Lemon* – Limão (or Limão-amarelo/siciliano)
Mango – Manga
Orange – Laranja
Papaya – Mamão
Peach – Pêssego
Pear – Pêra
Pinapple – Abacaxi
Plum – Ameixa
Strawberry – Morango
Tomato – Tomate
Watermelon – Melancia

* – In Brazil lemon is limão-siciliano, Mexican (Key) lime is limão-galego, Tahiti (Persian) lime is limão-taiti and Rangpur lime is limão-cravo. Bearss (Siciliano) is grown in the hot and humid climate of Brazil for the same reasons it is the main variety in Florida. Whereas Mexican and Tahiti limes are better suited to the climate and therefore much more common in everyday use, the ‘Siciliano’ lemon is a specialty food item in Brazil, much appreciated for its fragrance. Most of the crop is eaten fresh, some of it is used for rind oil.

Brazilian Fruits

Açaí
Acerola – Barbados Cherry
Cacau* – Cocoa
Caju – Cashew fruit
Coco da Bahia* – Coconut
Cupuaçu
Goiaba – Guava
Jaca – Jackfruit
Maracujá – Passionfruit

It is estimated there are 312 kinds of Brazilian fruit, although only 6 kinds are widely cultivated (subtract Jaca and Acerola from the list above). Among the stranger kinds, there are names like banana-de-macaco, marôlo, araticum-cagão, taperebá, cariota-de-espinho, pau-alazão, marajá and fruta-de-ema. One strange sounding fruit isn’t mentioned though, it’s the ‘oiti-da-baía‘, which although the favorite fruit of Dom Pedro II, is extinct.

* – Cacau, while translated as ‘cocoa’ is not chocolate-flavored as the seeds from the cacau are what make the chocolate.

* – Coco da Bahia is a Brazilian coconut variety. The origin of coconuts in general is not known. Coconuts received the name from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The brown and hairy surface of coconuts reminded them of a witch called coco (that used to be represented as a carved vegetable lantern). When coconuts arrived in England, they retained the name and -nut was added.

Fruit-related terms

Pulp – Pulpa
Seed* – Caroço
Skin/Peel – Casca
Vine* – Vinho (or Videira)

* – Semente also means ‘seed’, but in a general sense. It is not used for what is found immediately inside a fruit, that’s a caroço, while the semente is protected by the caroço. In summation, caroços are hard but it’s the sementes that germinate.

* – Vinho can also mean wine.

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7 thoughts on “Fruit terms in Portuguese

  1. Oh!Quem disse que limao nao cresce no Brasil! No sitio do meu pai tem uma plantacao de limao-galego, ou seja o limao amarelo:)

    I almost forgot..Need to write in English eh..Who said that lemon doesn’t grow in Brazil? In my dad’s grange there is are lemon trees, the so called limao-galego (yellow lemon) :)

    Cheers!
    Isabel.

  2. Cool! That was helpful.

    btw, if Im not wrong we have different kinds of mamão, papaya (mamão-papaia) being one of them. it would be worth checking, I guess.

    cheers!

  3. I’ve never seen the yellow lemon in Brazil. What about “lima”? This one is like a green orange.
    Have you heard the word “mulberries”? If I google it, I get “amora” as well. I was wondering if this word is used in the US.

  4. Well, I know that yellow lemon (limao galego) is not common in Brazil, rather lime, but I assure you that they grow there. My dad’s grange is in Búzios (2 hours from Rio). By the way, sometimes you find limao galego in free markets around town.

    In fact I don’t know the difference between lemon and lime. In Rio ;) we call them limao, all sort of lemons (also limao galego) is for me lemon. In Europe I learned that the green lime, for us known as limao, is called lime.

    Cheers!

    • Oh, I’m not doubting that limão galego is yellow and grown/sold in Brazil, but it is considered a (yellow) lime, rather than a lemon.

      Lemons as bought and sold in the US are called ‘limão siciliano’ in Brazil. ; )

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