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Brazilian Nicknames Posted by on Jan 13, 2011 in Culture

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?

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  1. aselniczka:

    There are also nicknames (apelidos) in capoeira. All capoeiristas get their new names during batizado.
    Well, almost all :)) I got my first peli when I went to Salvador, after four years of training capoeira. Then I became Sem Nome – Nameless, but after that I met my boyfriend, professor da capoeira, whom I called “coracao”. He started calling me the same and now everyone in capoeira calls me Coracao. I’m not nameless anymore :))

  2. moranguinho:

    My nickname is Moranguinho! 😉 My capoeira coach gave it to me because I always go red in the face! He said I look like a strawberry 😀

  3. Teka:

    O meu “apelido de net” é uma forma diminutiva brasileira de Teresa.

    (Se falta de gramática, me perdõe. Ainda é cedo e estou com sonho!)

  4. Steven:

    One more famous athlete is the tennis star Guga (real name Gustavo Kuerten)

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