How to say Friend/Sibling – Portuguese

I just wanted to go over some slang terms for friend (m/f) and sibling (m/f) in Portuguese. There’s not much to it as the title of the post pretty much says it all.

Mano or Maninho can mean brother or friend, interchangably. Equally so, Mana or Maninha can mean sister or friend. If used to mean sibling, it’s not at all uncommon to see these terms used rather than the traditional irmão/irmã. If I had to choose one of the four terms mentioned as the one used the least, I would say ‘mana’ isn’t so popular as a way to say (female) friend. As far as saying friend, there are many ways, as I mentioned in my Tricky Verbs & Words 5 post. If in doubt though, just use amigo/amiga.

Portuguese has no gender neutral term such as the English ‘sibling’. See comments for a little more on ‘mano’ as friend.

5 thoughts on “How to say Friend/Sibling – Portuguese

  1. Dear Sir

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    adamjacot@fastmail.co.uk

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  2. Hey Adam, nice post =)!

    Just one thing about it is that “mano” is not very common more nowadays when you use as a slang for brother or sister… my father, for example (58), uses with my uncle, but it’s kind of outdated, although, everyone will understand and it will not sound awkward or something…

    The other meaning (friend) is a very particular case. “Mano” is an urban tribe here in brazil (like goths, emos, punks … manos) … They got that name because they use the mano slang to refer to their friends, with the most close comparison going for “bro” and “brother” used by black communities, so it has this ‘weight’ over the word for a little bit more than just a friend. Also, Manos are more like of a ghetto tribe. They have their own particular way of dressing and are stereotyped by being marginals, creating gangs, and every ghetto cliche you might add. Hip Hop, Rap, graffiti, skateboard and a lot of other urban-style components are part of their culture. Said that, the slang “mano” for friends is not commonly used by non-manos =).. You can check over the internet about Manos to know more about =)

    Hope i could help ^^!

    iuri.kato

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