Portuguese Language Blog

The Superlative in Portuguese Posted by on Nov 19, 2014 in Grammar


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In Portuguese we can form the superlative in several ways.

01. Superlativo de superioridade. This kind of superlative is the positive one and is expressed with “o mais / a mais / os mais / as mais”

We use these forms to express “the most …” or “the … -est” in English. Some examples:

o mais alto – the tallest
a mais bonita – the most beautiful
os mais inteligentes – the most intelligent (ones)
as mais caras – the most expensive (ones)

02. Superlativo de inferioridade. This is the negative kind and is expressed with “o menos / a menos / os menos / as menos”

o menos alto – the least tall
a menos bonita – the least beautiful
o menos inteligente – the least intelligent
a menos cara – the least expensive

03. Superlativo absoluto. This kind of superlative doesn’t have a correspondent in English and is expressed with “o … íssimo, a … íssima, os … íssimos, as … íssimas”.

Some examples

limpo (clean) – limpíssimo (the cleanest)
caro (expensive) – caríssimo (the most expensive)
bela (beautiful) – belíssima (gorgeous)
cheio (full) – cheíssimo (crowded)
estranho (strange) – estranhíssimo (the strangest)
feio (ugly) – feíssimo (the ugliest)
feliz (happy) – felicíssimo (the happiest)
normal (normal) – normalíssimo (the most normal)
popular (popular) – popularíssimo (the most popular)

As you may expect, we have some exceptions! It’s a rather long list, but don’t worry – even native Portuguese speakers get these wrong, so keep studying!

amável (lovely, nice) – amabilíssimo
alto (high, tall) – supremo, sumo, altíssimo
amargo (bitter) – amaríssimo
amigo (friend) – amicíssimo
antigo (ancient) – antiquíssimo
baixo (short, low) – ínfimo, baixíssimo
bom (good) – ótimo, boníssimo
célebre (well-known) – celebérrimo
difícil (difficult) – dificílimo
feliz (happy) – felicíssimo
feroz (fierce) – ferocíssimo
fiel (faithful) – fidelíssimo
frio (cold) – frigidíssimo
grande (big) – máximo, grandíssimo
jovem (young) – juveníssimo
livre (free) – libérrimo
magro (thin) – macérrimo, magérrimo
mal (bad) – péssimo, malíssimo
manso (meek, docile) – mansuetíssimo
pequeno (small) – mínimo, pequeníssimo
pobre (poor) – paupérrimo, pobríssimo
preguiçoso (lazy) – pigérrimo
sábio (wise) – sapientíssimo
senil (senile) – senilíssimo
simples (simple) – simplíssimo
veloz (fast) – velocíssimo

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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.