Old in Portuguese

example for old in portuguese: existem muitos prédios velhos no centro do Rio.

What’s up, guys, everything good? We have many different ways to express the meaning of old in Portuguese, like retired, vintage and ancient. But each word is used in a specific context! So let’s learn all the ways to say old in Portuguese and in which situations you can use them!

Ways to Say Old in Portuguese

Velho (masculine) / Velha (feminine)
This is the most common and general translation for “old” in Portuguese. We don’t use that word for people, because it usually sounds rude and a little arrogant. Example:
Meu carro é bem velho, foi feito em 2000!
My car is really old, it was made in 2000!

Velhinho (masculine) / Velhinha (feminine)
This is the only exception about using this word for people. When we add the suffix -inho, we are giving a character of affection and intimacy, so it’s not bad to call your grandmother an old lady, for example. But only if you are intimate with the person, okay? We have a Dica just about diminutives that you can see here! Example:
Minha avó é uma velhinha muito legal!
My grandmother is a very cool old lady!

Antigo (masculine) / Antiga (feminine)
Used to refer to something ancient, vintage or from the past in Portuguese. It refers to something that existed a long time ago or is from a past era. It does not necessarily imply obsolescence or irrelevance. Example:
Nos tempos antigos, era comum viver em cabanas.
In ancient times, it was common to live in huts.

Idoso (masculine) / Idosa (feminine)
Specifically used to describe elderly or even retired people in Portuguese. It is used to describe a person who is advanced in age, typically associated with being over 60 or 65 years old. Example:
Minha avó é idosa, tem 89 anos.
My grandmother is elderly, she is 89 years old.

Arcaico (masculine) / Arcaica (feminine)
Used for something archaic or very old-fashioned in Portuguese. It describes something that is outdated, old-fashioned, or no longer in common use. It often refers to linguistic elements or cultural practices that have fallen out of use over time. Example:
Acredito que os costumes dele são bem arcaicos!
I believe his habits are very archaic!

Ancestral (masculine and feminine)
Refers to something related to ancestors or ancient family origins. In the context of people, it describes a direct or indirect predecessor in a family line. In a broader sense, it can also refer to things that have been passed down from previous generations. Example:
Alguns conhecimentos medicinais são ancestrais no Brasil.
Some medicinal knowledge is ancestral in Brazil.

Obsoleto (masculine) / Obsoleta (feminine)
Describing something outdated or obsolete in Portuguese. It describes something that is no longer in use or has been replaced by more modern alternatives. It indicates that an object, technology, or idea has become outdated and is no longer relevant. Example:
Este computador é tão antigo que está obsoleto.
This computer is so old it’s obsolete.

Envelhecido (masculine) / Envelhecida (feminine)
Used for something that has aged or become old in Portuguese. It is used to describe something that has physically aged over time, often resulting in visible signs of wear and tear. For beverages or food, it has a good meaning. Example:
Essa bebida foi envelhecida durante 25 anos para ficar gostosa.
This drink has been aged for 25 years to make it taste good.

Aposentado (masculine) / Aposentada (feminine)
We use aposentado in Portuguese to describe someone who has ceased working, usually due to reaching a certain age or fulfilling the requirements for retirement. Example:
Meu pai é aposentado desde os 60 anos.
My father is retired since he was 60 years old.

Velho vs. Idoso in Portuguese

Let’s review the differences between velho and idoso with one of our teachers, Moisés. Take a look at the video below, and remember you can use subtitles if you need ’em!

Now it’s your turn!

Complete the sentences using the words velho or idoso and their variations.

  1. Tenho um telefone ______ e quero comprar um novo.
  2. Meu avô tem 79 anos. Ele já é ______.
  3. Ele comprou uma bicicleta ______  e reformou.
  4. Meus sapatos estão bem ______.
  5. Haviam muitos ______ na fila do banco ontem.
  6. Ele vendeu seu carro ______ e usou o dinheiro para estudar português.
  7. Os ______ fazem exercícios na praça pela manhã.
  8. Existe um assento especial para ______ nos ônibus.
  9. A ______ está atravessando a rua lentamente.
  10. Panela ______ faz comida boa.

That was it for old in Portuguese, its synonyms and all the different usages! Remember: “antigo” and “arcaico” refer to different aspects of oldness or age, with the former generally indicating a historical or past reference and the latter implying outdatedness. “Idoso” specifically refers to elderly individuals. “Ancestral” relates to something connected to ancestors or lineage. “Obsoleto” refers to something that is no longer in use or outdated. “Envelhecido” indicates physical aging or wear and tear, and “aposentado” is used to describe someone who has retired from work. What about you? At what age do people usually retire in your country?

Big hug! Bye, bye!

          Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Adjectives in Portuguese
Gender in Portuguese
Brazilian Desserts
Brazilian Drinks

Answers

  1. velho
  2. idoso
  3. velha
  4. velhos
  5. idosos
  6. velho
  7. idosos
  8. idosos
  9. idosa
  10. velha

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