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)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search for Portuguese Dicas

Tell us which Portuguese lesson you would like to learn


Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Suscribe to A Dica do Dia.

Get free Portuguese lessons. Subscribe to A Dica do Dia and get short, daily lessons in Portuguese completely free.

Based on 282 reviews
This is the best way to learn portuguese in Rio! Great atmosphere, vers good teachers and very efficient active learning method through one big bonus of this school: Rio&live !! Definitely recommand!!
Kanso M
Kanso M
Llevo solo unas semanas estudiando en línea con Rio & Learn y puedo decir que mi portugués ya ha mejorado notablemente! Espero poder visitar la escuela pronto para realizar una inmersión completa y conocer a todos los profesores que son geniales. Muchas gracias Rio & Learn!
Pablo Gonzalez
Pablo Gonzalez
I have been taking online group classes here for about a month. The entire class is in Portuguese so you learn super fast. The class sizes are small and after each class the teacher evaluates you, so you learn at your own pace. All the teachers I've had are super enthusiastic and encouraging. You're also put in a WhatsApp group to practice and there are extra online activities which are super fun. I both laugh and learn a ton in my classes. I highly recommend this school and I hope someday in the future I can visit in person!
Sam Terlizzi
Sam Terlizzi
I had a lovely time with the teachers and my fellow students during the classes and the activities the school provided. They push you to speak as much Portuguese as possible during and outside the classes. This made it possible for me to start smal conversation after one week!!! Thank you very much for all the fun and teachable moments! “Eu gosto Rio and Learn!”
Mathieu Vandemaele (MathieuV)
Mathieu Vandemaele (MathieuV)
Rio & Learn is a one stop shop for learning Portuguese while enjoying the amazing Carioca lifestyle. The teachers and the staffs are very accommodating and they always encourage you to speak and immerse in the language. The immersion classes would take you on amazing journeys to local historic spots of the city while keeping you extra fit. Highly recommend!!!
Khoa Pham
Khoa Pham
excelente experiencia, quero visitar novamente, os professores foram maravilhosos - Diogo e Ana Paula! A escola é bem organizada, bem localizada e funciona bem. Obrigada a todos!
Wonderful experience of Portuguese learning! The curriculum combines class room lectures and RioLIVE! field trips. My favorite activities are samba and cooking lesson. Staff and teachers are very friendly and helpful.The school is perfectly suited few steps away from beautiful Copacabana beach. Diogo is amazing and fun, he makes a beginner like feels really comfortable and able to learn!
Hong Lynn Zeng
Hong Lynn Zeng
E ai pessoal! Rio & Learn fue una experiencia maravillosa. En la escuela tuve clases muy interesante que mezclan temas gramaticales con conversación de una forma muy bien planificada. Adicionalmente, las actividades programadas por la escuela en la tarde y los fines de semana son muy divertidas y son una extensión de las clases por lo que se puede continuar practicando portugués en un escenario más pragmático. Complementario a esto, los profesores son muy buenos y tienen mucho ánimo y disposición para enseñar, preocupándose de que el estudiante aprenda ya sea en un entorno individual o grupal; debido a que el profesor que dicta la clase cambia con cierta frecuencia uno tiene la posibilidad de desarrollar más la habilidad de escucha con los diferentes acentos y dinámicas de cada uno. Finalmente, como solo traveler es el lugar ideal para hacer amigos en clase y pasar un buen rato con las actividades de RioLive mientras conoces Rio y practicas el idioma objetivo así que es una excelente combinación. Recomiendo completamente, amé mi experiencia, cree amistades para toda la vida y mejoré mi portugués tal como quería, superó mis expectativas con creces.
karolina roa correa
karolina roa correa
la escuela es muy útil para aprender portugués, las clases son interactivas y divertidas. Tiene excelentes profesores que ayudan al aprendizaje de manera efectiva.
Daniela Camacho
Daniela Camacho
I highly recommend Rio and Learn, especially as a solo-traveler. You will make so many friends from the classes and have a lot of support from teachers as well. The group classes are quite great and allow you to maximize your time in the city. I love how you spend the first half of the day focusing on grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary and then afterwards you actually apply it while visiting some of the coolest places in Rio.
michael alcorn
michael alcorn