Portuguese Language Blog

More slang in Portuguese! Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 in Vocabulary

E aí, tudo bem com você?

Last week I was on vacation but I’m back and today we are going to learn some very interesting slang words in Brazilian Portuguese. Are you ready?

Let’s start with abacaxi (pineapple) and pepino (cucumber). I have no idea why, but these words mean a very difficult problem to solve. With abacaxi we usually say “descascar um abacaxi” [to solve a difficult problem] or “ter um abacaxi para descascar” [to have a difficult problem to solve]. Here are some examples:

Meu dia hoje foi horrível no escritório. Tinha tanto pepino pra resolver.
My day was awful at the office. I had so many problems to solve.

Ah, não quero nem saber. É você quem vai ter que descascar esse abacaxi.
Oh, I don’t care. You’re the one who’s going to sold this problem.

Boia! Ah, that’s a good one! A boia is a buoy, a lifebuoy and in Portuguese it is used, informally, to indicate food, like “grub”, etc. We usually use boia with this meaning in the expression “filar a/uma boia” [to get some free food].

Filei uma boia na casa da minha mãe hoje.
I got some grub at my mom’s today.

Posso filar uma boia na sua casa hoje?
Can I get some grub at your place today?

We also have the expression boia-fria, meaning “cold food”. The boias-frias are people who pick oranges or work on sugar cane harvests and they leave home very early, around 5 am. They bring their own lunch so when they actually have it (around 9 am), it is actually cold. The boias-frias are usually transported in trucks called “pau-de-arara”. This doesn’t happen in big cities due to the lack of rural areas.

Última, porém não menos importante, we have the word encanado, which literally means canalized, piped (cano = pipe). Encanado is used to show that someone is deeply in love with someone, worried or concerned that something is going to happen or even determined to do something. Here are some examples:

Ele está encanado com ela já faz três meses. Nunca o vi assim.
He’s been in love with her for three months already. I’ve never seen him like this.

Ela está encanada que seu namorado a está traindo.
She’s concerned that her boyfriend is cheating on her.

Ele está encanado em aprender francês e eu tenho certeza de que ele vai conseguir.
He’s hell-bent on learning French and I’m sure he will make it.

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


  1. Nun:

    In English, you can say you have a “prickly problem” which sounds like the abacaxi expression. abacaxi are prickly on the outside.

    You can also say you’re “in a pickle” which is similar to pepino. I don’t understand that one, in English or in Portuguese.

  2. Adir:

    Nun, thanks for the comment. It surely makes sense now. Keep visiting the blog!