Well, it’s time to  “QUEIMAR AS PESTANAS” (burn some more eyelashes) with the funniest phrases in the Portuguese language! 

The phrases below belong to European Portuguese. Brazilian Portuguese is, as you know, quite different from European Portuguese.


Burn the eyelashes (“queimar as pestanas”). Meaning: To study a lot or to read!

A Portuguese person does not “give up,” they “take their little horse away from the rain.” (“Tirar o cavalinho da chuva”)

A Portuguese person does not “have a problem,” they “ are done to the beef.” (“Estou feito ao bife!”)

Portuguese people don’t want you “to leave them alone,” they want you to “bother Camões.” (“Vai chatear o Camões” – a very famous portuguese poet.)

In Portugal we don’t  “cause problems,” we “breaks all the dishes.” (“Partir a loiça toda”)

In Portuguese, you are not “sexy,” you are “as good as corn.” (“Boa como o milho”)

In Portugal we don’t work a lot,” we “get water up our beard.” (“Água pela barba”)

A Portuguese does not “talk about the same thing over and over again,” they “turn the record and play the same song”. (“Gira o disco e toca o mesmo”)

We don’t do stuff “to show off,” we do it “so the English can see
it.” (“Para inglês ver”)

Portuguese people are not “shameless,” they have “a rotten face.” (“Cara podre”) OR they “have a lot of cans”. (“Ter muita lata”)



We don’t “shut up and listen to things we do not like,” we “swallow frogs.” (“Engolir sapos”)

Go comb monkeys! (“Ir pentear macacos”). Meaning: to tell someone to get lost!

Bread bread, cheese cheese (“pão pão, queijo queijo”). Meaning: Things are what they are. To call a spade a spade.

Head of dry garlic. (“cabeça de alho chocho”). Meaning: We say this to someone who is distracted.

I’m in the paints (“estou-me nas tintas”). Meaning: I don’t give a damn about that.

You’re here, you’re over there. (“estás aqui estás ali”). Meaning: if you don’t behave, I’ll slap you.

You’re letting water in (está a meter água). Meaning: you’re doing something wrong / you’re doing not well at all!

Monkeys are biting me (“macacos me mordam”). Meaning: when you get very intrigued or surprised with something.

God gives nuts to those who don’t have teeth (“dá Deus nozes a quem não tem dentes”). Meaning: We use this expression when someone is wasting an opportunity. When an opportunity is not seized.

To speak with elbows (“falar pelos cotovelos”). Meaning: It means someone speaks a lot / too much.

portuguese saying


You’re putting the paw in the puddle (“estás a meter a pata na poça”). Meaning: You’re screwing up.

Deaf as a door (“surdo como uma porta”). Meaning: someone who doesn’t hear well.

Smart as garlic (“esperto como um alho”). Meaning: we use it to mention that someone is clever or intelligent

To sleep like a rock (“dormir como uma pedra”). Meaning: when you sleep very deeply

Burro como um calhau (“dum as a rock”). Meaning: we use it to mention that someone is stupid.

To be fresh as a lettuce (“estar fresco como uma alface”). Meaning: when someone has rested a lot and very well.

We would never tell you to “piss off,” but we can say to you “to go to the place where Judas lost his boots.” (“Onde Judas perdeu as botas”)

A Portuguese person does not “wake up angry,” they “wake up with their feet outside.” (“Com os pés de fora”)

We are never “upset,” we “are with olive oil”. (“Estar com os azeites”)

A Portuguese is not “an experienced person,” he has “spent many
years turning chickens.” (“São muitos anos a virar frangos”)


People from Portugal do not believe you have strange ideas,” we “think you have little monkeys inside your head.” (“Ter macaquinhos na cabeça”)

For a Portuguese guy, something is not “really simple,” it is “bread to bread and cheese to cheese.” (“Pão, pão, queijo, queijo”).

We do not die, ” we “go from this one to a better one.” (Ir desta para melhor.) OR, we “go off with the pigs.” (“Ir com os porcos”)

We never “feel suspicious,” we “have a flea behind our ear.” (“Estar com a pulga atrás da orelha”)

A Portuguese is not “worry free” they “ are sitting under a banana tree.” (“Estar à sombra da bananeira”)

We are not “clumsy,” we just “look like a silly cockroach.” (“Barata tonta”).

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Based on 110 reviews
Adrien Le Grand
Adrien Le Grand
Great place, great teachers, highly recommended !
Grael Norton
Grael Norton
I just finished the introductory A1 course this past week. This was a great experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to start making progress in Portuguese quickly. Though I have a background in French and Spanish, I had no familiarity with Portuguese going in. In just two weeks, my listening and reading comprehension have skyrocketed, and now I will continue on to the next level to make more progress in my speaking. This class is also a great way to meet other people who are interested in learning the language and culture, and I'm happy to have made some new friends in the process!
Brian Horner
Brian Horner
I've never really learned a second language and, in fact, did not do well when I took the required Spanish classes in high school. I thought I was a lost cause. After moving to Lisbon I decided to enroll with Lisbon Language Cafe and I couldn't be more impressed. First of all, because the class size is so small and because they focus on speaking/engagement, I really got to know the other students - it was just so much more fun than I could have ever expected. I came with hope and left with new friendships and the foundational skills needed to navigate daily life here in Portugal (give and receive directions, order food, communicate with doctors, etc...). I don't normally write reviews but feel compelled to do so for Lisbon Language School because of how good my experience was. I am excited to continue my education using this school and honestly feel that the teachers are vested in ensuring my success. Muito obrigado por me ensinarem português!
Marc Eskenazi
Marc Eskenazi
I did the 2 weeks intensive class A1 and A1.2, it was great! the two teachers are amazing and super friendly, the course is very well done. Perfect place to start learning portuguese!
Adélina M
Adélina M
Update: I just finished the A2 classes and I’m looking forward to B1! Going to Lisbon Language Café has helped me a lot in improving my Portuguese. I think that if I did not take these classes, I would’ve been stuck speaking in present tense with everyone. Now I’m able to use multiple tenses which makes my discussions more fluid and allows me to improve my understanding skills as well. My overall grammar, conjugation and vocabulary has improved a lot. Cherry on the cake: I noticed that even when I have a bad day, my mood switches during these classes as the vibe is always super nice :) I attached a picture from the lessons with the best, most hard-working student of our group. — Previous review: I attended the A1 "night" classes. The class is well-structured, we moved fast, and got to learn many useful things that allow me to speak more comfortably already (vocabulary, conjugation, etc.) Frederico is super nice, friendly, and laughs at the worst jokes, which made me happy. Now, I must master all the knowledge he passed on to us before getting in the A2 group. BIG bonus points for letting me come with my dog to class. Would definitely recommend these Portuguese classes to anyone. Thank you for everything!
Erin C
Erin C
I had such a great time in this class. Frederico's approach is easy and fun. He equips you with a lot of information. Do your homework!! He even had class online when I was ill and couldn't make it in person. His printouts he gave me still come in use. This class gave me the courage to try speaking in my daily life, even with errors, and I understand much more. I had a great time in this class. Estou praticando mais. Obrigado!
Michael Wickers
Michael Wickers
Really enjoyed my classes at the Lisbon language cafe. Frederico has an effective teaching style which combined with a relaxed learning environment makes for a really nice way to learn Portuguese. Definitely will continue my studies there.
Isa Branco
Isa Branco
Lisbon Language Cafe offers excellent Portuguese A1 group lessons led by a dedicated teacher. Frederico’s expertise and teaching style impressed me whereas he also created a supportive and engaging learning environment, emphasizing vocabulary, grammar, and conversation skills (however also making it practical for daily use!). Individual needs were addressed and patient guidance provided. Also cultural insights were integrated into the lessons. The comfortable atmosphere, good group and lots of laughs contributed to a pleasant learning experience. If you're looking for Portuguese lessons, I highly recommend Lisbon Language Café!
Robbin Goss
Robbin Goss
A great portuguese course in Lisbon. I learned portuguese and got a lot more comfortable with the language after taking the intensive portuguese course while living in Lisbon. Frederico is a great teacher who really cares about his students learning. I highly recommend this portuguese language lesson, and it's in a great location!
Jamie O Sullivan
Jamie O Sullivan
I very much enjoyed this Portuguese course in Lisbon. The classes are fun and conversational while still learning all the key grammar items. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to learn Portuguese in Lisbon


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