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)

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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
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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!
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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.
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michael alcorn