Portuguese Language Blog

Abafar and Desabafar Posted by on Mar 12, 2010 in Learning

Two very handy verbs to learn in Portuguese are abafar and desabafar. Not only do they sound satisfying when spoken, but they are also useful in several contexts.

abafar = smother / repress, keep a secret / muffle / cover to retain heat


A imprensa abafou o caso do politíco corrupto. The press stifled the story about the corrupt politician.

Abafamos a panela para manter a sopa quente. We covered the pot to keep the soup warm.

A menina abafou o som do rádio. The girl muffled the sound of the radio.

abafado = stuffy / muffled

Durante o verão, o quarto pequeno sempre fica quente e abafado. During the summer, the small room always gets hot and stuffy.

Fora da boate, o som da música parecia abafado. Outside of the club, the music sounded muffled.

desabafar = to relieve / divulge / to get something off your chest / catharsis

Depois de ficar calada por muito tempo, desabafei. After keeping quiet for a long time, I finally confessed.

Antes de pedir ajuda, ele explicou que precisava desabafar. Before asking for help, he explained he needed to get something off his chest.

desabafo = a relief / the act of getting something off your chest

Foi um desabafo admitir que ele queria embora. It was a relief to admit he wanted to leave.

Ela chorou muito durante o desabafo, mas ficou aliviada em se expressar. She cried a lot during the confession, but she felt relieved to express what she felt.

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