A Little More Patience


I was reading a Brazilian newspaper the other day when I noticed a new phrase used in the comments section of an article. The phrase was “ter paciência de Jó” (to have the patience of Job, which apparently is a phrase in English, too) and it means to have a lot of patience. The origin of the phrase is in the Bible (James 5.11) and refers to Job’s refusal to condemn God in the face of losing his family and livestock. It is said that obtaining patience is the hardest, yet most rewarding, of the seven heavenly virtues, thus why having the patience of Job means having it in good measure.

For those in need of patience (or a relaxing tune), I thought I’d share one of Lenine’s songs called “Paciência”, with the translated lyrics below. Before starting, I thought it important to mention the meaning of two phrases. One is “faço hora” (from “fazer hora”, which is an informal way to say “to delay“). The other is “vou na valsa“. This comes from the phrase “vai-da-valsa” which basically means “to live it up” while “ir no vai-da-valsa” means to let things happen as they may. Here’s an example of the phrase, “Jack Nicholson no filme The Bucket List, vive na base do vai-da-valsa.” (Jack Nicholson in the film The Bucket List lives life based on the spur of the moment). I wouldn’t say it is a common phrase but I go by the motto that all phrases learned are good phrases. On to the song!

Mesmo quando tudo pede
Um pouco mais de calma
Até quando o corpo pede
Um pouco mais de alma
A vida não para…

Even when everything requires
a little more calmness
Even when the body requires
a little more soul
Life doesn’t stop…

Enquanto o tempo
Acelera e pede pressa
Eu me recuso faço hora*
Vou na valsa*
A vida é tão rara…

While time
goes faster and asks us to rush
I refuse I delay
I take things as they come
Life is so rare…

Enquanto todo mundo
Espera a cura do mal
E a loucura finge
Que isso tudo é normal
Eu finjo ter paciência…

While everybody
waits for a cure for everything bad
And craziness pretends
that all of this is normal
I pretend to have patience…

O mundo vai girando
Cada vez mais veloz
A gente espera do mundo
E o mundo espera de nós
Um pouco mais de paciência…

The world keeps spinning
going slower and slower
We hope from the world
and the world hopes from us
for a little more patience…

Será que é tempo
Que lhe falta pra perceber ?
Será que temos esse tempo
Pra perder?
E quem quer saber ?
A vida é tão rara
Tão rara…

Is it that time
is too short to perceive?
Do we have this time
to lose?
And who wants to know?
Life is so rare
So rare…

Goela abaixo – new expression


I just came across a phrase with a word I’ve never heard or seen and thought I’d share it. The phrase is “goela abaixo” where “goela” is synonymous with “garganta” (throat) and “abaixo” just means “below”. So, you’re thinking “throat below…., huh?” Apparently, it’s used to refer to something being forced down your throat, whether figurative or literal. Below is a real example:

“Ele teve álgebra empurrada goela abaixo sem nunca saber para que ela servia.”
(“He had algebra shoved down his throat without ever knowing what it was useful for.”)


Related: Portuguese now the 5th most used langauge on the web (new)

If you’re learning Portuguese, check out my ebook, 103 Tricky Verbs in Brazilian Portuguese!

A few new phrases in Portuguese

“Quem cala, consente”
(Silence implies consent)


Dedo duro* – Tattletale
Delator – Snitch
X9 – Snitch (“sheesh-novy”, Rio favela slang)

Common tattletale phrase (ie, suborno – bribery)…
“Se você não me dedurar, eu te pago um sorvete”
(If you don’t tell on me, I’ll buy you an ice-cream)

Brazilians, though, don’t have the ‘cool’ phrase “snitches get stitches” (delatores pegam pontos)

* I saw the word on Street Smart Brazil.


A t-shirt that’s one size too small?

“Mamãe, sou forte”
(Mommy, I’m strong)

“Simon Cowell usa camisas “mamãe sou forte.”
(Simon Cowell uses tight t-shirts.)


If you’re learning Portuguese, check out my ebook, 103 Tricky Verbs in Brazilian Portuguese!

Tal Phrases

A seguir, umas frases e tal ; )
Below, some phrases and stuff

Tal - Such, Like (or Said)
Ex. Falam que tal livro conta a história de nosso povo.
Ex. They say that said book tells the history of our people.

E tal / Coisa e tal – …and stuff / and things like that / etc.
Ex. O livro se trata de dragões e tal.
Ex. The book is about dragons and stuff.

Tal…tal… – Like…like…
Ex. Tal mãe, tal filha.
Ex. Like mother, like daughter.

Que tal… – How about…
Ex. Que tal a gente se encontrar na quarta-feira que vem?
Ex. How about we meet up this Wednesday?

*the title of the post, if written in Portuguese, would be ‘tais frases’ since ‘tal’ becomes ‘tais’ in plural form.

Rethinking Phrases

There are some phrases in Portuguese, like any other language, that perhaps need some rephrasing. One of them is “fazer o quê?” which is sort of like a rhetorical way of saying “well, what do you want me to do about it?” Perhaps a better phrase would be “o que fazer?” While the first phrase suggests inaction, the second one suggests action.

Likewise, there’s another phrase (I mean, verb) which is “esperar“. When you wait for something, you may feel rather imprisoned by the feeling, as if someone else must act or something else must happen for that hope to turn into something real and tangible. Here, I suggest “esperançar” as a replacement. Over at Mitancunhã, a blog where I found the topic being proposed, the author references a song by Aldir Blanc called “O Bêbado e a Equilibrista” where one of the lines says “esperar sentados, porque em pé cansa” (“wait sitting down, because standing is tiresome”). The author continues to say that “if by waiting, we’re invited to sit, hoping invites us to dance” and “if waiting means standing still, hoping means to be already on one’s way”.

I’m sure all languages could benefit from a bit of rethinking in order to inspire its speakers to ask “why not?” instead of “why?” but who knows, maybe language used to be less cautious but human behavior somehow made our speech dictate our actions…or vice-versa.

More Info

Mitancunhã (in PT)

Cross My Heart… – Phrases

In English, we have a phrase that goes “Cross my heart, hope to die(, stick a needle in my eye)” which acts as a way to convey trust. In Brazil, it’s not so literal but there is a comparable phrase. Before I get to it, another English phrase is “I swear on my (insert relative here)’s grave” which means the same. In Brazil, one swears on the health of someone important to them.

Ex. I swear! Cross my heart, hope to die.
Ex. Eu juro! Pela saúde da minha mãe.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be one’s mother. You can also say “juro por Deus” (like “I swear to God”).

The Famous “Depois” – Phrases

I love how certain words in other languages require one to ‘read between the lines’. To me, ‘depois’ (after) is one of those and Brazilians are famous for saying it. There’s what it means and then there’s what it probably means.

Imagine a situation where someone has offered me something or asked me to do something. If I respond with “depois eu faço” or in the case of food, “depois eu como”, what I’m most likely doing is being polite in my refusal or at least in the uncertainty that I will, in fact, do the thing in question.

There’s another way to use depois, which I feel like I’ve discussed here before (yet a search of my posts reveals nothing). After just doing a Google search for “depois eu que sou…” to come up with an example to use, I saw “depois eu que sou a bêbada!” This is basically a way to say “…and they call me a drunk!” (or “…and I’m the one that get’s called a drunk!”) One can presume that the conversation was about person A drinking but then it is found out that person B seems to drink a lot more so person A would say the phrase. Get it?

Post-edit: For more on this, see Danielle In Brazil‘s post.

Vem Cá – Informal Phrase

Most of us who are sufficiently versed in Portuguese know that the phrase “vem cá” means “come here” (though, technically, I suppose it should be as a command, ie “venha cá” ). There’s a second meaning which can be loosely translated into English as “hold on”, “wait just a second”, “listen up” or even “pay attention”, all of them serving as a way to call attention to something you wish to say.

Ex. “Vem cá, o que está acontecendo aqui?”
Ex. “Hold on a sec., what’s going on here?”

So how do you tell the difference between someone wanting you to come closer or wanting you to listen up? Aside from understanding the context, the informal usage has a slightly different intonation than the literal one.

In Portuguese, a substitute for “vem cá”, in the informal sense, is the phrase “olha só”. Some people might have an aversion to this secondary usage and may respond by saying “Vem cá pra onde? Eu não estou aqui já!?” (Come where? Am I not already here?).

Without Salt – Phrases/Slang

I just learned a new phrase for saying a woman is a plain Jane. I haven’t confirmed if this is applied to men as well but I wouldn’t see why not. It seems to go like this, since salt is seasoning and seasoning generally makes food more appealing or interesting, then to say someone is without salt, means they’re boring.

Ex. Ela é muito sem sal e não sei o que ele vê nela.
Ex. She is such a plain Jane and I don’t know what he sees in her.

You may also see “sem sal, nem açúcar” which is basically the same, meaning without salt, nor sugar.

To Miss Work/Class – Phrases

Since the verb ‘to miss’ has a few meanings, one might end up interpreting such a phrase as ‘I missed work today’ or ‘I missed class today’. For this, you wouldn’t use ‘sentir falta (de)‘ because that is used to express the idea that you miss something that is not or no longer present in your life. What do you say then? The verb ‘faltar (a)‘!

Ex. Hoje, eu faltei ao trabalho.
Ex. I missed work today.

To say you missed class, just change ‘o trabalho’ for ‘a aula’. Keep in mind that you will also see ‘Eu faltei no trabalho/na aula’, so don’t worry, it means the same thing. Knowing what verb requires something else after it or with it is called regência verbal, in grammatical terms…but that’s another post!

Also keep in mind that if you wish to express truancy/playing hooky/cutting class, you would say ‘Eu matei aula‘, so that’s ‘matar‘ (to kill). Another verb for truancy is ‘cabular‘, as in ‘cabular aula‘, which is more specific although less used.