By Teacher Claudia
August 17, 2007

Dear readers, my American student has asked me the meaning of the word Adeus” (goodbye), as there seems to be a “deus” in it. Due to his remark, we had another very fruitful discussion on the many expressions Brazilians use on daily conversations, apparently not aware we are speaking the name of God in vain. Well, I did my homework, found the reason why we say “Adeus” and some other things that may interest you. By the way, Brazilians don’t like to say “Adeus”. Just keep reading me and you’ll understand why.

Activity 1 – Introduction
Read a piece of the song “Partido Alto”, by Chico Buarque.

Diz que deu, diz que d
Diz que Deus dar
Não vou duvidar, ó nega
E se Deus não d
Como que vai ficar, ó nega

(Say it was possible, tell me it is
Say God will make it so
I won’t doubt it, my babe
And if God doesn’t
How will it be, my babe?)

Activity 2 – Context
As you could read on Activity 1, God is mentioned in times of despair, or when we can’t speak what we really mean. In fact, the song “Partido Alto” is one of the many which had its lyrics censored in the dark years of the military dictatorship.

One could naively think that due to the strong presence of Catholicism in Brazil, we speak the name of God at least once a day, completely unaware of the weight of our words. However, there are many other reasons to call Him: blind faith that compensates poverty, total disbelief against our social pyramid, deep indignation on our politicians, the list is long. I personally ask Him for Education. After decades teaching, I know it’s the only solution for my country.

Activity 3 – Examples
Here are very popular expressions (among many) on “Deus”.
Check which ones you know and learn some more.

1. A Deus dar.: give it to God, He will solve it
2. Deus te crie!: in southern Brazil, when someone sneezes, we say, God raises you!
3. O amanh a Deus pertence.: tomorrow belongs to God
4. (tambm sou) filho de Deus.: (I’m also) son/daughter of God, I also have rights
5. Se Deus quiser…: if God wishes so, if it’s His will
6. Pelo amor de Deus!: for the love of God! I can’t believe it!
7. Só Deus (resolve)…: only God (solves it, fixes something)
8. Fique / fica com Deus.: be with God, take care, goodbye

Activity 4 – Curiosity
What about “Adeus”? In the past, the full expression at parting was “A Deus te entrego”, or to God I deliver you, meaning I won’t be here anymore, so you’re in His hands. As time went by, some of the original words were forgotten, the sentence was contracted to “A Deus”, and nowadays it’s only “Adeus”, everything together. Naturally, many don’t know the origin of the word, but we all comprehend it’s a beautiful, but sad farewell. And that’s one of the reasons we Brazilians avoid saying “Adeus”. To my ears, its translation is “Take care”.

Activity 5 – Transference
I left “Adeus” to the end because it brings another necessary reflection on my mother-tongue: why Brazilians struggle to tell the truth at once. But that is a subject for September.

See you next week!


Teacher Claudia is available for private classes in São Paulo. She can be contacted at

To read previous articles by Teacher Claudia click below:

Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 2
Brazil: Third World Chaos
Brazil’s Catholic Parties in June
Portuguese Tip: Sounds Part 2 – De & Di
Portuguese Tip: Diminutives
Portuguese Tip: Regularity of Verbs in Portuguese – Final Part
Portuguese Tip: Regularity of Verbs in Portuguese – Exceptions
Portuguese Tip: Regularity of Verbs
Brazil: A Day in São Paulo
Why Not? (Or on Brazilian Indians)
Portuguese Tip: Infinitives and Gerunds Part 1
Brazil: Portuguese Tip – Ningum X Nenhum
Brazil: Portuguese Tip – Tudo vs. Todo
Brazil’s Independence Day
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Denials
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Não and Nem
Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1
Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1
Portuguese Tip: The X Doubts Part 2
Portuguese Tip: The X Doubts
Brazil: To Tell or Not to Tell
Brazil: Ipiranga Museum
Portuguese Tip: Odd words
Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
A Brazilian Holiday: October 12th
Portuguese Tip: Sounds
Portuguese Tip: Verb Tenses
Portuguese Tip: The Mystery of Seu, Sua
Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 2
A Brazilian custom: Kissing the Cheek
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Past
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 1
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Present
Portuguese Tips
Portuguese Tips: Adverbs in Portuguese
Portuguese Tips: Comparative and Superlative
Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes

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