No need to tell us obrigada for these tips.
You probably don't need another reason to go to Brazil (gorgeous beaches, vibrant cities, wonderfully friendly locals, and the sheer craziness of Carnival). But if you were not already aware, Brazil has a language as beautiful as its tropical landscape. When I first moved there, I remember thinking that the language was so mellifluous and pleasing to the ears, I could listen to Brazilians chatting all day long.
In the land of samba and caipirinhas, body language does go a long way. But Brazilians are a very gregarious bunch, and as soon as you arrive and see the crowds of people hanging out on Ipanema Beach, dancing on the streets to live music, or chatting over açaí and snacks at the ubiquitous juice stands, you'll wish you had brushed up on a few introductory words and phrases to better interact with locals.
Unlike other parts of the world, where there may be little patience for beginners attempting a new language, Brazilians will be more than happy to practice with you — and they'll be extra impressed if you already know a thing or two. Whether it’s thanking the beach vendor for your coconut water or asking your waiter where the bathroom is, you’re sure to turn a big smile if you try to employ some Portuguese on your trip to Brazil.
Just a note: Brazilians tend to be pretty casual with language, so you can almost always use the informal versions below.
Basic Portuguese words and phrases
Hello: Oi (informal); Olá (formal)
How are you?: Como está?; Tudo bem? (In response, you can say “Tudo bem” as well, meaning “Everything’s good.”)
How’s it going?: Como vai?; Como está indo?
Goodbye: Tchau (informal); Adeus (formal)
See you later: Até mais.
See you soon: Até logo.
See you tomorrow: Até amanhã.
Good morning: Bom dia.
Good afternoon: Boa tarde.
Good evening/good night: Boa noite.
Please: Por favor
Thank you: Obrigada (if you are female), obrigado (if you are male). (Tip: Locals often shorten this to ‘brigada or ‘bridago, omitting the “o”.)
Thank you very much: Muito obrigada/o.
You’re welcome: De nada.
What’s your name?: Qual é o seu nome? (informal); Como se chama? (formal)
My name is…: Meu nome é… (informal); Me chamo... (formal)
Pleased to meet you: Prazer.
Friend: Amigo (masculine); Amiga (feminine)
Father / Mother: Pai / Mãe
Boyfriend / Girlfriend: Namorado / Namorada
Mr. / Mrs. / Miss: Senhor / Senhora / Senhorita
Beautiful: Lindo (if the object you’re describing is masculine); Linda (feminine)
Good: Bom (if the object you’re describing is masculine); Boa (feminine)
Bad: Mau; Ruim
I don’t know: Não sei
I’m sorry/excuse me: Desculpa
Excuse me (passing through a crowd or asking to pass by someone): Permiso; Com licença
Weekend: Fim de semana
What?: Que? (When asking solely "What?" you say, "O que?")
Why?: Por quê?
How much?: Quanto?
Useful Portuguese words for travelers
Subway station: Estação de metrô
Train station: Estação de trem
Bus Stop: Ponto de ônibus
Car: Carro (Tip: Double r’s in Portuguese are pronounced as an “h” sound, so this is pronounced ca-ho.)
Restaurant: Restaurante (Tip: R’s at the beginning of words in Portuguese are pronounced as an “h” sound, so this is pronounced hes-taur-ronch.)
Breakfast: Café da manhã
Snack: Lanche, petiscos
Wine: Vinho; Vinho tinto (red wine); Vinho branco (white wine)
ATM: Caixa eletrônico
Go straight: Siga; Vai direto
Useful Portuguese sayings for travelers
Where is the bathroom?: Onde fica o banheiro?
Do you speak English?: Você fala inglês?
I don’t understand: Eu não entendo.
What?/Say that again?: O quê?
I don’t speak Portuguese: Não falo português.
How much does this cost?: Quanto custa isso?
Check, please: A conta, por favor.
Cheers! (when toasting drinks): Saúde!
I’m lost: Estou perdido (if you are male); Estou perdida (if you are female).
Let’s go: Vamos!; Vamos embora!
I would like...: Eu gostaria...
I like…: Eu gosto...
I don’t like…: Eu não gosto...
I am from/I come from…: Eu sou de…
Where are you from? De onde você é?
Important phrases for any trip to Brazil
What's up?: E ai?
How cool!: Que legal!; Que beleza!
This city is marvelous!: Essa cidade é maravilhosa!
Very good: Muito bom
Thanks (informal/colloquial): Valeu!
One more (drink)!: Mais uma!
I'd like an açaí with banana, please: Quero um açaí com banana, por favor. (Trust us, you'll want to order this).
Let's go to the beach!: Vamos a praia!
I will miss this place: Vou ter saudades desse lugar.