Portuguese Language Blog

Seu cara de pau! More Brazilian insults Posted by on Aug 31, 2021 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Learning, Slang, Vocabulary

Ei, pessoal! Hi, everyone! Last week we learned a couple of very useful, untranslatable xingamentos (insults) and negative personality traits that pretty much define our character. And if you thought that was too much, well, I was just getting started! Not that you should love us any less, of course. Sure, we’re kind and good-natured people, but it’s good to watch your back sometimes. Ready to learn more about our identity and talk back to your Brazilian friends when they overstep their boundaries? Vamos lá!

Você é um malandrinho! (Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels)


Featured in countless samba songs (and even Anitta’s catchy “Vai, malandra!”), malandro is arguably our most essential word to describe people. A malandro is a rascal, a scoundrel, a hustler, sometimes endearingly so. Like the figure of a trickster, it is someone who uses his wits to get out of a tough spot, often in a deceitful but clever way. Will Smith’s character in Fresh Prince of Bel Air would be a good example of a malandro.

  • Eu sei que você gosta do Cris, mas toma cuidado porque ele é meio malandro | I know you like Cris, but be careful because he is kind of a scoundrel.
  • Olha que malandra! Quebrou uma taça, escondeu na gaveta e não contou para ninguém! | What a rascal! She broke a glass, hid it in the drawer and didn’t tell anyone!

    Deixa de ser cara de pau! (Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)

cara de pau

Another key word in our language, cara de pau can be literally translated as ‘wood face’, but it refers to a bald-faced, cynical person, who has the nerve to do something wrong or inappropriate but feels shameless about it. 

  • Você acredita que a Natália me viu, passou direto e não me cumprimentou? Ela é muito cara de pau mesmo! | Can you believe that Natália saw me, walked straight past and didn’t even say ‘hi’? She’s got some nerve!
  • Meu ex teve a cara de pau de me ligar e pedir dinheiro emprestado mesmo depois do término! | My ex had the nerve to call me to borrow some money even after we broke up!

    Ai, como você é enrolado! (Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels)


You will unfortunately meet quite a few of enrolado Brazilians, since we’re not used to taking our clocks very seriously. An enrolado person is kind of a slacker or a flaky, a bit unreliable person, who forgets to honor certain commitments, tends to be late for social events or not show up at all. 

  • Chamei o Zé para ajudar com os preparativos da festa, mas ele é tão enrolado que não apareceu até agora | I asked Zé to help me with the party prepping, but he’s so  flaky that he still hasn’t shown up.
  • Mandei um email para a Suzana faz três dias e ela ainda não respondeu, ela é meio enrolada às vezes | I sent Suzana an email three days ago and she still hasn’t replied, she’s kind of a slacker sometimes.

Read the full post on the amusing verb enrolar here

What about you guys? Are there any one-of-kind and hard to translate words in your culture to insult others? I’d love to hear about them. Drop a comment below. Até mais!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Keep learning Brazilian Portuguese with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it