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[Brazilian Slang] – The “ué” in Portuguese Posted by on Nov 11, 2017 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Idioms, Learning, Slang, Vocabulary

[Gírias brasileiras] – O “ué” em português

Ei, pessoal, tudo bom? Hey, people, are you doing fine?

Today we are going to cover a very popular idiom in Portuguese: . This interjection is used mostly in informal speech and online and very rarely in written form in non-colloquial situations. Its origins are unknown, but the versatile is spoken in many different situations on our daily lives. We say when we want to show surprise, astonishment, doubt, sometimes even irritation. So if someone says something that you didn’t expect or that wasn’t according to plan or that causes you to be surprised or amazed, it is time to say .

is hard to be translated into an equivalent in English that expresses a corresponding meaning, but it could be something like “oh?” “what?”, “well” or “huh?”. It is commonly pronounced with a very expressive intonation that almost sounds like a question or an emphatic affirmation.

Now read some examples and sample dialogues to see if you get the overall meaning of :

  • -Decidi que vou largar meu emprego (I’ve decided to quit my job)
  • , por que? (Oh! Why?)


  • -O encanador vai cobrar R$150 pelo serviço (The plumber is charging us 150 reais for the job)
  • , mas a gente não tinha combinado R$100? (What? I though we agreed on 100 reais)


  • , onde vocês estavam? Estou esperando por horas (Where have you been? I’ve been waiting for hours)


  • -Não achei que meu time fosse perder (I didn’t think my team was going to lose)
  • , o que você esperava? Eles jogaram tão mal (Well, what did you expect? They played so badly)


  • -Ué, por que você ainda está acordada? São mais de meia noite! (Why are you still awake? It’s past midnight!)


  • -Onde estão as chaves do carro? (What are the car keys?)
  • , pensei que estivessem com você (Well, I thought you had them)


  • , onde estão meus óculos? Eles estavam aqui em cima agora! (Where are my glasses? They were just here!)


  • -Ah não, esqueci meu passaporte em casa! (Oh no, I left my passport at home)
  • , e agora? (Now what?)

The state of Minas Gerais is known for their famous variation uai, which also means the same thing but mainly spoken by locals. See:

  • -Uai, por que você está com essa cara triste logo no seu aniversário? (Why do you look so upset on your birthday?)


  • -Não fui no churrasco porque não como carne, uai (I didn’t go to the barbecue because I don’t eat meat)


  • -Tem como você me emprestar uma grana? (Can I borrow some money?)
  • -Uai, mas você não recebeu semana passada? (Huh? But didn’t you get paid last week?)

Check these related posts if you want to learn more about slangs and informal expressions:






Has anyone ever said or uai to you? Share your thoughts!

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  1. J. Seymour:

    I have never experienced either one of these expressions. It would be wonderful if you had a video or recording of the sounds. Also, the statement about the keys has an incorrect word: Onde = where, not what. Thanks for your hard work. JS