When One Phrase Leads to Another – Part Two

“O maior prazer de um homem inteligente é bancar o idiota diante do idiota que quer bancar o inteligente” – Confucious


The quote above, attributed to Confucious, basically says that an intelligent person is smart to play stupid in the presence of a stupid person, who in turn is trying to seem intelligent. Quote aside, you may have noticed a new verb that looks like “to bank”, followed by “the idiot”. What could “to bank the idiot” mean? Let me explain.

Bancar, when used like this, means to behave pretentiously, to play the part, to try to pose/pass as someone (who has a certain quality). Likewise, you can also use “passar-se por” to say the same.

In the same vein as Part One, the above phrasing of the verb “bancar” led me to remember another similar phrase.

Fazer-se (de)

You can use “fazer-se (de)” in a very similar way to “bancar”, however I’ll start with an example of the first time I ever heard it. When someone is playing “hard to get”, you can say that person “se faz de difícil“. While I don’t remember the exact instance in which I heard it, I do remember smiling to myself when it hit me, due to the different ways someone can express themselves in Portuguese. There are other endings, of course, that you can add after “de”. It seems even Google has a few suggestions (though the only other one I’ve actually heard is “se fazer de vitima“, or “to play the victim.”).

A quick note on the other meanings of the verb “bancar”. If you want to say, for example, that someone is paying for dinner, you can say “ele/ela bancou o jantar“. In similar fashion, you can also say someone is putting up the money for something. Ex. “Ele bancou o jogo“, or “He financed the game”.


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