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One of the most important things to know before traveling or moving to Brazil is that nicknames are not only common, but an important part of Brazilian culture. Many people get a nickname, sometimes early in life. It can be a shortening of a person’s name, like Eduardo being called Dudu or José being called Zé. It can also be a physical trait, like Baixinho (Shorty) or Gordinha (Chubby). It could also be a defining trait about someone’s personality, or where a person is from, like Baiano (from Bahia) or Mineiro (from Minas Gerais). Also, a person’s name could be there name with a diminutive, like Joãozinho or Fernandinha. It could even be an invented word!
You’ll find that some Brazilian celebrities are known by their nicknames rather than their given names. It is especially common for football players and other athletes, many of which are known affectionately by their nicknames. Here are some examples:
Xuxa, Actress/TV Personality – Maria da Graça Meneghel
Ronaldinho Gaúcho (Little Ronald from Rio Grande do Sul), Football Player – Ronaldo de Assis Moreira
Pelé, Football Player – Edison Arantes do Nascimento
Kaká, Football Player – Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite
Giba, Volleyball Player – Gilberto Amaury de Godoy Filho
Val Baiano (Val the Bahian), Football Player – Osvaldo Félix Souza
Lulu Santos, Singer – Luiz Maurício Pragana dos Santos
Cazuza, Singer – Agenor de Miranda Araújo Neto
Seu Jorge (Mr. George), Actor/Singer – Jorge Mário da Silva
Chorão (Crybaby), Rock Star – Alexandre Magno Abrão
Dunga (Dopey from the 7 dwarfs), Football Player/Coach – Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri
Brazilians are very creative when it comes to nicknames, so you may get one too!
Can you think of other Brazilian nicknames?