Appendix:Portuguese idioms

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This is a list of idioms in the Portuguese language. Proverbs and idioms with direct equivalents in the English language are excluded.


Idiom Literal Translation Meaning
Atirar-se de cabeça Plunge head first Face a problem without hesitation
Ficar em águas de bacalhau Remain in codfish waters Tackled but unsolved problem
Tirar o cavalinho da chuva Take the pony away from the rain Forget it/don't wait for it
Ir para o olho da rua Go to the eye of the street To be thrown out
Estás aqui, estás a comer You are here, you are (going) to eat I am about to hurt you
Ajoelhou, tem que rezar Kneeled, has to pray Finish what (you) started
Sem eira nem beira Without land nor roof Destitute
Bicho de sete cabeças Seven-headed beast Huge complication
Dar com os burros n'água To get into water with the assess To have a great frustration
Cair de quatro To fall on fours To be humbled and ridiculed
Comer o pão que o diabo amassou To eat the bread the devil prepared To suffer intolerably
Ouvir o galo cantar e não saber onde To hear the rooster crying without knowing where To be clueless, or to succeed out of sheer luck
Ficar a ver navios To be left watching the ships To be left without nothing
Ser carta fora do baralho To be a card out of the set To be relegated to an irrelevant position
Cair de maduro To fall because of being ripe When something happens that was predictable since a long time
Cantar de galo To cry as a rooster To attempt to control something
Falar pelos cotovelos To speak by the elbows To speak too much
Olhar com o rabo do olho To eye with the eye's tail To look at someone briefly, obliquely
Lavar a égua To wash the mare To do something one had been desiring for a long time
Jogar água fora da bacia To spill water out of the lavatory To be untrustful
Comer com os olhos To eat with the eyes To envy something (or someone) really very much
Dar no couro To beat the skin To have sex (Brazil only)
Ficar de molho To be soaking To wait uncomfortably, to be put to rest against one's will (e.g. after an accident)
Dar o troco To give back the change To have a quick revenge
Dar a volta To walk around (someone) To "milk" money from a gullible person
Chuta para canto Kick it to corner Don't worry about it
Pôr o rabo entre as pernas To put one's tail between the legs To withdraw from a position, usually with shame