When talking about the ‘hinterlands’ or ‘backlands’ in Brazilian Portuguese, which can be considered Brazil’s version of Australia’s outback, one can use the term sertão, but be sure not to confuse it with other related words. Thanks for a comment from Fábio (of English This Way, which I link to on my Links page), we see that sertão comes from desertão (big desert).
Sertão – Semi-arid lands of the Northeast of Brazil. A person from there may be called a sertanejo, which means ‘peasant’ but is generally used to say ‘cowboy’. Another word for cowboy is vaqueiro.
Caatinga -A type of shrub-like vegetation and an ecoregion of the Northeast characterized by said vegetation.
Cangaço – For a second, I thought cangaço (social banditry) was the same as sertão and cangaceiro (social bandit) the same as sertanejo but I was incorrect. Thanks to this post, I looked it up.