Portuguese Language Blog

How to use the word ‘cara’ in Portuguese Posted by on Nov 30, 2021 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Learning, Slang, Vocabulary

Olá, meus caros leitores! Como estão? December is almost here, can you believe it? Hang on…por que vocês estão fazendo essa cara? Why are you making that face? Our post today is about a word that us Portuguese speakers, specially Brazilians hold very dear: cara. Have you ever used it before?

Que cara é essa? (Photo by Monstera from Pexels)

Literally speaking, cara is a synonim for ‘rosto’, and it could mean both face or facial expression.

  • Porque você está com essa cara? | Why are you making that face?

It is also the feminine version of the adjective ‘caro’, meaning expensive.

  • Queria aquela bolsa mas ela é muito cara | I wanted that bag but it’s too expensive.

But beyond its literal definition, the word cara features in a number of idioms and phrases in Portuguese that native speakers absolutely love using, so learning them will certainly earn you some points and make life easier. You may also notice that the distinction among some of them might be subtle (a different preposition, for example), but its meaning could change significantly, so watch out for that! Let’s dive in:

quebrar a cara

Literally translated as ‘break the face’, it means to fail or to be disappointed after you build expectations about something.

  • Fui encontrar com um rapaz que conheci na internet e quebrei a cara, ele era muito mais velho do que na foto! | I went to meet a guy I met on the internet and I was disappointed, he was much older than in his picture!
  • Tentei pedir um aumento para minha chefe mas acabei quebrando a cara | I tried to ask my boss for a raise but I failed.

    Não vou muito com a cara do novo estagiário (Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels)

ir com a cara de alguém | take to someone

Literally translated as ‘go with someone’s face’, it means to along well with someone or to like them, usually based on a first impression.

  • Mesmo tendo elogiado o jantar, acho que sua mãe não foi muito com a minha cara | Even though I praised her cooking over dinner, I don’t think your mother really took to me.
  • Por que você convidou o Pedro do RH para almoçar com a gente? Você sabe que eu não vou com a cara dele | Why did you invite Pedro from HR to have lunch with us? You know I don’t like him.

cara as an interjection | dude, man

  • Cara, quanto tempo a gente não se vê! | Dude, I haven’t seen you in so long!
  • O show ontem foi bom demais, cara! | The concert yesterday was terrific, man

cara as a stranger, unknown man | guy

  • Um cara no bar veio pedir meu telefone, mas dei um número falso | A guy at the bar asked me for my phone number, but I gave him a fake number.

    Fiquei de cara com a notícia! (Image by Jerzy Górecki from Pixabay)

  • Estava no ponto de ônibus quando vi dois caras se aproximando | I was at the bus stop when I saw two men approaching.

ficar/estar de cara | to be shocked, surprised, dumbfounded

  • Eu estou de cara com essas praias do Maranhão, elas são maravilhosas! | I’m stunned by these beaches in Maranhão, they are wonderful!
  • Ficou sabendo que a Natália foi demitida na frente de todo mundo? Fiquei de cara! | Did you hear that Natalia got fired in front of everyone? I was shocked!

We also talked about cara de pau and encher a cara in previous posts, make sure to check them out!

So, did you know any of these expressions? Are there any other idioms with cara that you can remember? Leave your comment below. There’s more to come next time! Até mais.

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  1. Yvonne:

    I deleted Transparent Language by mistake, please restore a word in Portuguese daily, I love Portuguese
    send transparent language everyday to yvonne.phelps33@gmail.com