Gringoes > Culture > Sao Paulo Slang and Expressions
Sao Paulo Slang and Expressions

By Pedro Souza, Staff Writer
October 18, 2015

When trying to speak Brazilian Portuguese, the language that is used on a day-to-day basis is riddled with slangs and expressions. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, these expressions change a lot from region to region. Below, we have listed some slangs and expressions that will help you to understand the people of So Paulo, Paulistas.

Meu/mano: Both of these expressions are frequently used by young people, and they are the paulista equivalent of "dude", "bro" or "man".

Ta ligado?: This expression literally means "are you on?". This is asked after making a statement, and it is the same as asking in English "You know what I mean?"

Na moral: To do something "na moral" is to do it in a way that is not arrogant or disrespectful. But when you ask "Na moral?", this slang has a completely different meaning. In this case, it is the same as asking "really?"

Sinistro!: As one can easily guess, this translated literally to "sinister". People say that as a reaction to something that is bizarre, cool or freaky.

Mina: A shortened version of "menina" (girl), this is the paulista equivalent of "chick".

Firmeza: This word means "firmeness", but when used as a slang it is the same as saying "all right". It is also used as a greeting, with one person asking "firmeza?", and the other person answering "firmeza!".

Fica Frio: When telling someone to relax, this is what paulistanos say. Literally, this expression means "stay cool".

Pode crer: When people from So Paulo agree with what someone just said, they often reply "pode crer", which literally means "you can believe).

Tipo: This word is pops up a lot when paulistanos speak. It means "type", but they also use it in a way similar to a comma, without altering the meaning of the sentence at all.

Farol: The paulista word for "traffic light".

Lombada: This is how paulistas call a speed bump.

Mo cara!: A way of saying "a long time"

Se pa: A slang with no possible translation that means "maybe".

U: This expression has no real meaning or translation, but it is used a lot by people from So Paulo. It is usually said when questioning something unusual.

Top: Taken from english, paulistas call something "top" when it is really good.

Suave: One of the most common slangs used by young paulistas, this expression has a few uses. It can be used as a greeting the same way as firmeza, but it can also mean that something or someone is easy or relaxed.

Tenso: Meaning "tense", this expression is used to describe something or some situation that is difficult or bad. If someone tells a story about getting robbed for example, someone else might reply "tenso!". Another person might use the word to describe a difficult videogame level.

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