Glossary of Portuslang


From time to time, I throw in random Portuguese words or references. Here’s a quick and dirty glossary of terms that might help you get through. I should note that I don’t have the accent keys on my laptop, so much of the Portuguese I use is written without the appropriate accents.

  • Azeitão– a town/region in Portugal, near Lisbon (like so many others). Like all other regions, Azeitão is known for a specialty dessert (egg-yolk based, of course– tortas de Azeitão), wine, and other things that I don’t know of yet.
  • canela– cinnamon
  • chuchuku/chuchuka– little nugget. A fun word from Guinea.
  • ceia– a midnight snack, esp. during the holidays. Portugal’s fifth accepted meal of the day 🙂 The ‘Última Ceia’ is the ‘Last Supper’.
  • combinado– deal, agreement.
  • Continente– a chain grocery store in Portugal.
  • the homeland– Sandoeira, a small town about an hour and a half from Mafra. This is Pai’s family’s land, and a great weekend country retreat 🙂
  • Mãe– mother, mom.
  • Maezinha- diminutive of Mãe.
  • Mafrica– our household nickname for Mafra.
  • malta– ‘gang’, ‘dudes’, ‘folks’…slang, and plural (don’t add an ‘s’, and don’t use for just one ‘dude’)
  • manhoso/ manhosa– sneaky
  • maroto/marota– Puckish. (A word picked up from watching ‘Bones’ with subtitles)
  • Narnia– our household nickname for the Tapada Nacional de Mafra. (Click here for the Google-translated page of the Tapada in questionable English.)
  • noz moscada– nutmeg
  • Nós fazemos luxo– we’re livin’ large (a phrase picked up in Sao Tome e Principe)
  • Pai– father, dad.
  • pastéis– pastries, most often in reference to pastéis de nata, custard tarts renowned in Portugal (the famous ones are Pastéis de Belém)
  • Sonhos– little puffy doughnut holes covered in white granulated sugar. Some have the consistency of egg batter being used; others are more doughnutty. Literally, sonhos= dreams.
  • tintins– balls, nuts, testicles. Cute word, unrelated to the Belgian comic strip.
  • tosta– little pre-toasted pieces of bread. Not a cracker. A really, really, dry piece of toast (usually teeny, though sometimes nearly the size of a normal slice of bread) the consistency of a crouton. Surprisingly handy, great for crumbing, for appetizers, for a quick breakfast, and to eat with soup. I get them in bags from the grocery store.
  • vegetal– baking paper. Not quite wax paper…more like tracing paper. I’ve never used parchment, but I think it may be much like this. Here, vegetal is cheap, found in rolls, and widely used. I couldn’t find it on my recent trip to the US, however.
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