How to Pronounce X in Portuguese example: Estudar português no Rio é uma experiência incrível.

Hi everyone, how’s it going? Well, in today’s Video Dica, we will learn how to pronounce X in Portuguese.

The letter X in Portuguese

Pronouncing the Portuguese X for most foreigners is something difficult, an enemy, but in reality doesn’t need to be. That happens because depending on the word the x can have different sounds. And, as you already know, we have a lot of exceptions in Portuguese, so of course this also happens with the letter x. But let’s learn one by one so you won’t get confused anymore.

X in Portuguese with the sound of CH

The X can have the same sound that the CH makes (a very common sound in the carioca accent) like when you silence someone “Shhhhhh”. So now we will see in which cases this happens. Check it out:

After a Diphthong

Diphthong is the meeting of two vowels that belong to the same syllable and are pronounced in a single voice emission. So, when we have the letter x in Portuguese with a diphthong, the sound will be just like shhhhh.


Let’s hear the word baixo (low, short):

A ameixa The plum
A faixa The ribbon
Baixo Low
Deixar Leave / Let
Peixe Fish
A caixa Box


After EN

Another case that the same sound will happen is when the letter x comes after the syllable EN. If we have an X, it will make the shhhhhh sound as well.


Hear the word enchada  (hoe):

A enxada The hoe (gardening instrument)
O enxame The swarm
O enxoval The trousseau
Enxaguar To rinse
Enxuto Dry


Special Cases

You’ve already studied a lot of Portuguese with our classes, right? So you probably know that Portuguese has lots of exceptions and special cases. With the Portuguese X it’s no different.  Check out the special cases where the letter X still makes the CH sound:


Let’s hear the word México (Mexico):

Oxalá I hope so / Divinity of Afro-Brazilian religions
Mexer To touch/move something
Alexandre Alexander
México Mexico
Xadrez Chess


Some other exceptions to this rule are the words: lixo (garbage), puxar (pull), xadrez (chess), xícara(cup), mexer… And if the word starts with an X the sound will be CH too.

X in Portuguese with the sound of Z

So here we move on to another case: X equals Z. The letter X in Portuguese can also have a ZZZZZ sound. It usually happens when the X is between two vowels. Let’s see some examples:


Let’s the word exato (correct):

O êxodo The exodus
O exame The exam
O exercício The exercise
Exato Correct
A execução The execution
O exército The army
O exílio The exile

So there you have it, when the X lies between two vowels, it sounds like the Z.

X with the sound of S, SS e SC

Did you think it was over? No,no, no… The Portuguese x can still sound like an S, SS and SC. Let’s see what happens in each case.

X with the sound of S

When the X is before P, it sounds like S. Check out:

Expressar To express
A experiência Experience


When the X  is before T, the sound is also like S:

Texto Text


X with the sound of SC

When the X is before C, it sounds like SC:

A exceção Exception
Excelente Excellent


X with the sound of SS

If we have the X after AU, it will sound like double S.

Auxiliar Auxiliary

Of course, we have some words that don’t follow these rules like: próximo (next), and máximo (maxim).

X in Portuguese with the sound of KS

Well, here we go with another X, but this time with the sound of KS. Here we don’t have a specific rule. Can you notice the sound of the KS? It’s happens with a lot of words that come from the English language or from Latin too. Let’s see here some words like this:

Listen the word oxítona (oxytone):

Ortodoxo Orthodox
Paradoxo Paradox
Tórax Thorax
Fixo Fixed
Anexar Attach
O prefixo Prefix
Táxi Taxi
Sexo Sex

Wow! So this is the KS sound.

To be sure that you understood and practice more the pronunciation, let’s watch Moises’ explaining and saying the words you’ve just learned. To more Dicas like this, check out our Youtube channel.  Don’t forget to turn the subtitles on.

Now that you know how to pronounce X in Portuguese, shall we practice a little?

Exercise for the letter x in Portuguese

Number the words according to their correct pronunciation:

1. Baixo
2. Exato
3. Extrato
4. Exceto
5. Oxítona
6. Auxílio

(5) Anexo (  ) Exorcismo (  ) Tóxico (  ) Excesso (  ) Exemplo (  ) Auxiliar (  ) Puxar

We will wrap up here, but not before thanking you all! Once again, you all know you can contact us though our web page, which is Rio & Learn and can also follow us through our social media, if you want.

As we say here, a tight hug to you all, and until next time. Tchau, tchau!

Ler esta Dica em Português          Leer esta Dica en Español Click on the links below to see more related Dicas Sounds of the vowels in Portuguese How to pronounce the R in Portuguese Sound of L in Portuguese The alphabet in Portuguese

Exercise for the letter x in Portuguese: answer

( 5 ) Anexo – KS sound, doesn’t have a specific rule ( 2 ) Exorcismo – Z sound, between two vowels ( 5 ) Tóxico – KS sound, doesn’t have a specific rule ( 4 ) Excesso – x before c ( 2 ) Exemplo – Z sound, between two vowels ( 6 ) Auxiliar – S sound, X after AU  (1) Puxar – CH sound, special case/ it’s an exception