Similar Words in Portuguese

estou meio cansada: example of similar words in portuguese - meia and meio

Hi there! Portuguese can be a tricky language sometimes, right? So many words might look or even sound the same! Today we will discuss similar words in Portuguese, so you never feel confused again!

Meio & Meia

Let’s start looking at these similar words in Portuguese! The word meio can mean two things. It can mean half of something, or it can be a way of expressing a “more or less” intensity.

Joana: Tá tudo bem?Joana: Are you ok?
Lívia: Ah sim, é que estou meio cansada.Lívia: Oh yes, I’m just a little tired.

The word meia can also mean two different things! It can refer to a sock, but also to the number 6.

Joaquim: O que é isso debaixo da cama?Joaquim: What is that under the bed?
Arthur: É uma meia!Arthur: It’s a sock!

Pão & Pau

Pão is a type of food made from wheat, fundamental for the human diet since the beginning of time! Check out the example:

Jaqueline: Eu quero um pão fresquinho!Jaqueline: I want a fresh bread!
João: Vou comprar para você, Jaque!João: I will buy it for you, Jaque!

Pão and pau might not look like similar words in Portuguese, but their pronunciation is very similar! Pau mostly can be used to refer to some sort of stick. However, pay attention! It can also be used as a swear word for penis!

José: Para que você precisa de um pedaço de pau?José: What do you need a stick for?
Rodrigo: Para terminar de construir a casa na árvore!Rodrigo: To finish building the tree house!

Suar & Soar

Suar is a regular verb related to our body perspiration. Take a look at the example below:

Veja aquele homem. Ele está correndo na praia e está suando.Look at that man. He is running at the beach and he is sweating.

Soar, however, is a completely different verb! It’s also a regular verb, but it is related to something making a sound.

O celular dela está soando.Her phone is ringing.

Fragrante & Flagrante

Fragrante is a word that is not commonly used in the daily life, but is common in perfume ads!

Rosas são flores muito fragrantes.Roses are very fragrant flowers.

Flagrante, however, means a whole different thing! It is related to being caught doing something wrong or illegal by someone.

Policial: Pare! Você está preso em flagrante!Policeman: Stop! You are caught red-handed!
Bandido: Droga!Thug: Damn it!

Cavaleiro & Cavalheiro

Cavaleiro is someone that rides a horse. Take a look at the example:

Cavaleiros eram famosos durante a Idade Média.Knights were famous during the Middle Ages.

Cavalheiro is a man who is refined and very polite. Have you seen the tiny difference between these similar words in Portuguese? It’s just an H!

Júlia: Você é um cavalheiro!Júlia: You are such a gentleman!
Gregório: Ah, muito obrigado!Gregório: Ah, thank you!

Comprimento & Cumprimento

Comprimento is how large something is. Take a look at the example:

Otávio: Qual o comprimento da régua?Otávio: How long is the ruler?
Anna: Ela tem 30 centímetros.Anna: It’s 30 centimeters.

Cumprimento, on the other hand, is a way to greet people!

Paola: Eu cumprimento o porteiro todo dia!Paola: I greet the doorman everyday!
Amanda: Você é muito educada.Amanda: You are very polite!

Tráfego & Tráfico

Tráfego is related to the flow of cars on the streets.

O tráfego no Rio de Janeiro é uma loucura!The traffic in Rio de Janeiro is crazy!

Tráfico is a concept related to the illegal trade in things like drugs.

O tráfico é ainda muito presente nas favelas.Trafficking is still very present in the favelas.

Descrição & Discrição

Descrição is the act of talking about characteristics of someone or something.

Alana: Você consegue fazer uma descrição do que é funlearning?Alana: Can you make a description of funlearning?
Júlia: É um método divertido de aprendizado!Júlia: It’s a fun method of learning!

Discrição, on the other hand, refers to someone being discreet.

Discrição é uma característica muito necessária para um bom amigo.Discretion is a much-needed trait for a good friend.

Discriminar & Descriminar

Discriminar is a verb used when we are prejudiced against someone due to a specific characteristic that the person has.

Por muitos anos, os negros foram
discriminados no Brasil.
For many years, blacks were discriminated
against in Brazil.

Descriminar is also a verb, used when something is no longer illegal.

A maconha foi descriminada na Holanda.Marijuana was decriminalized in the Netherlands.

Similar Words in Portuguese With One of Us!

This is Ally, one of our students! She came to Brazil to learn Portuguese. Let’s review these similar words in Portuguese with this nice video she made for us!

Ok, so that was it! In this lesson you learned a few similar words in Portuguese. I hope you all liked it and don’t forget to subscribe to our channel Rio & Learn right here and until next time!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas:
Portuguese Plural

Portuguese Synonyms
False Friends English-Portuguese
Comparatives in Portuguese

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.