So now you have learned how to talk about all your pets and favourite wild animals in Portuguese. You’re walking around the streets of Rio and you feel very confident about your knowledge until you hear someone say “Que gata!” on the street. Gata? Cat? Where?
Turns out Brazilians love to use animals as slangs. And almost all the animals you learned mean different things when you hear it around. So let’s take a look at some of them!
Met someone cute at a bar? A hot guy or girl on Instagram? Brazilians call people ‘cat’ when they think they are attractive. Saying ‘gatinha’ or ‘gatinho’ (little cat) is also very common and it doesn’t retract from the compliment. Someone who is ‘gato’ or ‘gatinho’ can be attractive to the same extent.
Ele é muito gato.
He is very hot.
Ela é gatinha, cara.
She is hot, man.
Unlike the first slang we saw, being called “chicken” is far from flattering in Portuguese. Someone who is galinha is usually a womanizer or someone who likes to sleep around (men or women).
Ele é galinha. Ele fica com qualquer uma.
He is a womanizer. He hooks up with anyone.
Now, haven’t you seen the adorable little monkeys around Rio? Those are micos. But the expression we are looking at right now is much different. Have you ever played truth or dare? A good dare would be like a mico! Something embarrasing. To do a mico, or to do something embarrassing is usually: pagar mico.
Ela perdeu a aposta, então ela teve que pagar um mico.
She lost the bet, so she had to do something embarrassing.
This one I’m sure most of you are familiar with. Just like in English, you can call someone a ‘pig’ when you think they are dirty, nasty or ill-mannered.
Você come que nem um porco!
You eat like a pig!
Isn’t it great when you can literally translate something and obtain the same results? Cachorra (female dog) is just what you think it is: bitch. Except we can use it for men too (cachorro) – here it could be translated as ‘asshole’ or ‘dick’.
Aquele cachorro me traiu!
That asshole betrayed me!
Be careful with when you say this! Viado (common spelling for the slang) can mean a variety of things. It can be a way to call your friends amongst a group of guys (much like saying ‘man’ or ‘bro’), but it can also refer to someone gay. Some people take offense to this slang. Depending on how and when you say it guys can take it as an offense (both straight and gay). Though a lot of gay men openly embrace the slang and call themselves that.
Viado, você perdeu a festa de ontem!
Man, you missed last night’s party!
If you thought Brazilians weren’t creative enough when it comes to insulting people, think again. Calling someone a cow is a very powerful insult especially towards women. It just means ‘bitch’, but it can feel as heavy as ‘cunt’ does to an American.
So far we have mostly seen slangs that can be used to describe (or insult) people. Pinto, or pintinho, however, is hardly an adjective. It is one of the many ways you can say ‘penis’ or ‘dick’ in Portuguese. Bear in mind, this is only used to refer to an actual penis, and you can’t just call someone pinto and expect them to be as insulted as someone would if you called them dick.