Slang that came but hasn’t gone

Often there are Portuguese words you may not hear all the time and as such, you may put less effort into memorizing them. Sometimes the word in question seems scientific in nature and other times the word may be less formal and have some history to it. The latter are usually from the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s, and classified as “something my (grand)parents would say”, which isn’t to say they still aren’t useful. Here are a few for you which you may come across every once in a while (in rough order from most used to least, IMO).

Barato – a slang term that was created in the beginning of the 1970’s, as a counterculture term to signify a high from marijuana or LSD. Gradually, it came to mean ‘cool’.

Pombas! or Raios! or Putz grila! – Expressions that denote surprise or indignation (‘putz’ is still used).

Lenga-lenga or Lero-lero – Chit-chat, idle chatter, small talk, baloney, nonsense (sometimes written without hyphen).

Toró – heavy rain (used in the Amazon region, for example).

Mandar brasa – to continue, to go ahead.

Sanduba (m) – Sandwich.

Broto – a young person or young attractive female (currently can mean a personal-sized pizza).

Supimpa – cool, great.

Many old slang words, however, have not fallen out of popular use. Some examples of “gírias antigas” (old slang terms) which are still frequently used are bacana (cool), bicho (friend), cafona (out of style), jóia (cool, great), and sacou? (got it?).

If slang terms interest you, I recommend taking a look at this site, though it’s in Portuguese.

Originally written for Street Smart Brazil


2 thoughts on “Slang that came but hasn’t gone

  1. Adam! Loved this post so much!
    I think some of this words are definitely dated – nobody under 60 would say broto or pombas! Others are still around (at least in some circles)- sanduba, toró, lero-lero.
    Let me ad a few oldies but goodies to your list:legal (which is still very common – but legalzinho is very dated), tchap-tchura (similar to legal, OK, beautiful), maneiro (idem), maluco beleza (a sweet hippie), possante (car), manda brasa (go for it!)and a huge, huge list of etc…
    I think I will follow your lead and write about this – refering to you, of course!

  2. That’s really interesting.
    I was thinking about some words that we use in Portuguese but it does not have a translation to English. I do not know whether you have a post about this.

    Concunhado/Concunhada – the relationship between brother in law with the other brother in law/ or sister in law. LOL

    Compadre/Comadre – the relationship between the parents and the Godparents

    Xará – People who have the same name.

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