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How to use the word “nossa” in Portuguese Posted by on Jul 29, 2017 in Brazilian News, Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Idioms, Learning, Online Learning, Slang, Slang, Video, Vocabulary

Ei, galera! Hey, guys!

Last post we covered the many possibilities of the adverb ainda. Today, we’ll move on to another very popular term in our language: nossa. It is, again, one of those words that is so common that Brazilians likely use it on a daily basis.

Nossa is literally a possessive pronoun for nós (we) in the singular feminine form: nossa mãe (our mom), nossa cadeira (our chair), nossa gata (our cat). All of these nouns above are feminine and in the singular form. Take a look at these other examples:

  • Bem-vindo à nossa casa! – Welcome to our house
  • Chegou a nossa vez na fila – It is our turn in line
  • Onde está nossa cidade no mapa? – Where is our city on the map?
  • Nossa filha estuda engenharia – Our daughter goes to engineering school
  • Meus pais tiveram que levar nossa avó ao hospital ontem – Our parents had to take our grandma to the hospital yesterday
  • Nossa pousada fica perto da maioria dos pontos turísticos do Rio – Our inn is close to most touristic attractions in Rio

(Learn more about possessive pronouns here: https://blogs.transparent.com/portuguese/how-to-say-mine-yours-theirs-in-portuguese/ )

However, nossa is also used as a slang word in Portuguese. It shows surprise, wonder and astonishment. It works as an interjection, a sort of informal exclamation that could be translated as “wow”, “my goodness”, “gosh”, “gee” or something like that.

If we were to trace it back to its possible origins, nossa might derive either from the phrase: nossa senhora! or minha nossa!, both of which also express shock and amazement. Nossa senhora in Portuguese means Our Lady (a good way to help you associate nossa with the possessive pronoun).

Our Lady – Nossa Senhora
The possible origin of the expression

When we say nossa, the senhora is dropped, but it still shows a great deal of religious influence in our speech. See some examples:

  1. Perdi minha carteira com todo meu dinheiro,cartões e documentos (I lost my wallet with all my money,  cards and documents)
  2. Minha nossa! Você tem que ligar para o banco (Oh my! You should call the bank)


  1. Um ônibus capotou na rovodia (A bus overtuned on the highway)
  2. Nossa senhora! Os passageiros estão bem? (My god! Are the passengers okay?)

Now pay attention to these examples with the word nossa:

  • Nossa, essa torta de chocolate é muito boa (Wow, this chocolate pie is very good)
  • Não acredito que ele disse uma coisa tão grosseira, nossa (I can’t believe he said something so rude, wow)
  • Nossa! Seu apartamento é enorme! (Whoa! Your apartment is huge!)
  • Nossa, olha o tamanho daquela aranha na parede. (My goodness, look at the size of that spider on the wall)
  • Estou tão cansada hoje, nossa (I’m so tired today, gosh)
  • Que calor, nossa (It’s so hot, gee)
  • -Consegui um emprego na American Airlines – Nossa, que incrível! (-I got a job at American Airlines – Wow, that’s amazing!)
  • -Meu cachorro fugiu –Nossa, que triste (-My dog ran away –Oh, that’s so sad)
  • -A Paula trouxe três garrafas de vinho para a festa – Nossa, isso é demais! (-Paula brought 3 bottles of wine to the party –Man, that’s too much!)

Now let’s take a look at some memes that can always make things clearer 🙂

“Wow, that’s crazy, man”

“Whoa, how nice”


This popular song form singer Michel Teló is also a good idea to teach you the expression nossa. Listen:

Have you heard this song before?

Nossa, como o tempo passou rápido! É isso por hoje. Até mais!

Whoa, how time flies. That’s it for today. See ya!

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  1. Jerome:

    Great blog! My Portuguese is barely functional, and this helps me practice.

    • carol:

      @Jerome Hey, Jerome!
      It’s great to hear that, I’m glad I could help.
      Thanks for reading our blog,

  2. Joy E Seymour:

    Jerome: Really enjoy your posts. On this one, I notice that you used an English word of questionable authenticity — “…time “flied.” Should have been flew according to my sources. Or, maybe, how time flys. Keep up the good work, I know you are helping many people. JES

    • carol:

      @Joy E Seymour Hey! I appreciate the heads up, it was truly helpful! I’ve already corrected it.
      Thanks for reading our blog,