Carioca Meaning

carioca meaning: the carioca river is in the tijuca forest!

Hello dear friends! Have you ever heard the word carioca? Today we’ll teach you the carioca meaning, and, of course, how to be a carioca!

Everything that comes from the city of Rio de Janeiro is carioca. And of course, natives are called cariocas as well. Cariocas are different (in a better way) from the rest of Brazil, especially with their lifestyle and their accent, kindly called carioquês. But what does carioca mean, really? Where does this come from?

To begin with, let’s learn how to say this word. Repeat after us:

Carioca Definition

Like many things in Brazilian culture, carioca comes from the indigenous Tupi language and there are disputes about its meaning. The most accepted one is that the word kara’i oka, which means house of carijó, a tribe in Rio de Janeiro that was close to the Carioca River in Tijuca’s nature park, in the city’s northern zone.

Carioca or Fluminense?

When you first come to Rio, you may hear the word fluminense as a way to name someone who lives in Rio de Janeiro. The difference between carioca and fluminense is that the former is used when speaking about someone who lives in the state of Rio de Janeiro, while carioca is only for the city itself. And if you ever want to explore Rio, come with us to our RioLIVE! Activities.

Carioca da Gema

We also have a specific name for someone who’s born and raised in the city of Rio de Janeiro: Carioca da Gema, literally translated would be carioca from the egg yolk. But this doesn’t make any sense, right?! Well, the explanation is that this word is related to an egg yolk because it relates to the origin of the family. Someone who is carioca da gema would be a person that not only was born in Rio, but also their parents and grandparents. So, it might be making a little more sense, if we think that the egg yolk is the part of the egg that “makes” the chick.

Other Cities in the State of Rio de Janeiro

Rio is big! And we also have different names for the people of each city in Rio de Janeiro, most of them have the termination –ense or -ano, so don’t call everyone a carioca! Check them out:

Arraial do CaboArraialense
Belford RoxoBelford-roxense
Cabo FrioCabo-friense
Duque de CaxiasBibarrense
Nova IguaçuIguaçuano
São João de MeritiMeritiense
Volta RedondaVolta-redondense

How to be a Carioca!

Now that you know the carioca meaning, let’s learn how to be a true carioca!

carioca meaning: Cariocas love playing altinho at the beach!
Cariocas love playing altinho at the beach!
how to be a carioca: For Cariocas, 20 degrees is winter and very cold!
For Cariocas, 20 degrees is winter and very cold!
carioca definition: Cariocas use the word Pilot to call the bus driver.
Cariocas use the word Pilot to call the bus driver.
what is a carioca: Cariocas agree by using the expression já é and é mermo.
Cariocas agree by using the expression já é and é mermo.

Tips on How to be a Carioca

There are also other tips that you can keep in mind that will help you feel like a true carioca! But if you want our help, remember you can always learn Portuguese in Brazil. See them bellow!

Os cariocas batem palmas para o pôr-do-sol no Arpoador.
Cariocas clap their hands for the sunset at Arpoador.

Os cariocas jogam frescobol.
Cariocas play frescobol.

Os cariocas jogam futevôlei.
Cariocas play footvolley.

Os cariocas jogam vôlei de praia.
Cariocas play beach volleyball.

Os cariocas comem farofa.
Cariocas eat farofa.

Os cariocas chamam o garçom pelo nome.
Cariocas call the waiter by their name.

Os cariocas chamam todo mundo de cara, não importa se é homem, mulher, cachorro ou pedra.
Cariocas call everyone by dude, it doesn’t matter if it is a man, a girl, a dog or a rock.

Os cariocas falam merrrmo ao invés de mesmo.
Cariocas say merrrmo instead of mesmo.

Os cariocas comem pizza com ketchup.
Cariocas eat pizza with ketchup.

Os cariocas dizem valeu no lugar de obrigado.
Cariocas say valeu instead of obrigado.

What Are They Like?

Last, but not least, let’s listen to Adriana’s Calcanhotto song and learn what the cariocas are like! Listen to the song and complete the table with its lyrics.


Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are beautiful
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are beautiful
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are slick
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are golden
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are modern
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are smart
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are direct
Cariocas não gostam de dias nubladosCariocas don’t like cloud days
Cariocas nascem bambasCariocas are born bohemian
Cariocas nascem craquesCariocas are born craques (very good at football)
Cariocas têm sotaqueCariocas have an accent
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are happy
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are attentive
Cariocas são tão sexysCariocas are so sexy
Cariocas são _____________Cariocas are so clear
Cariocas não gostam de sinal fechadoCariocas don’t like red traffic lights

Last Tip on Carioca Meaning!

Before you go, check out this one last video:

Vocabulary For This Class!

estilo de vidalifestyle
zona nortenorthern zone
gema do ovoegg yolk

And that’s it! Now you know the carioca definition, and you’re almost one yourself! See you next A Dica do Dia!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
How to Make a Feijoada
Girl from Ipanema
The History of Rio de Janeiro

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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