Brazilians are very expressive and emotional people. They have a great sense of humor and love people. When you see a Brazilian talking you will probably see his hands moving and making different gestures. Learn some of these gestures and you will be sure to impress your Brazilian friends and make them smile!
Telephone call: Put your fist up to the side of your face with your pinkie finger and thumb extended to show that someone is on the phone. This is also used for call me.
Warning or disbelief: Gently pull the bottom of your eye lid down with your index finger. This means “be careful” or “watch out”. It is used when someone doesn’t believe or trust a situation or person.
Disbelief: Tap your fingers under your chin. This means “papo-furado” which implies someone doesn’t know what they are talking about.
Let’s eat: Point your fingers to your mouth then bend them up and down a few times, which means that the food is ready or let’s eat!
Let’s have a Coffee: Hold your thumb and index finger together about 2 inches apart in front of your mouth. This indicates and invitation to have a “cafezinho” a small cup of dark coffee or espresso.
Let’s have a beer: Hold your hand in a fist with your thumb pointing towards your mouth. This is an invitation to go have a beer “cerveja” or a draft beer “chopinho”.
Delicious: Tug your earlobe when you think something is delicious! This gesture is not as common as it used to be.
Great or cool: A thumbs up sign means something is really good.
The good life: Put your thumbs under your armpits and move your fingers. This means that someone has it made or living well!
Jealousy: Rub your elbow with one hand to suggest jealousy. The slang for this is “dor de cotovelo” which literally means a pain in the elbow. There are many Brazilian songs that mention this phrase in them.
Crazy: Hold your index finger to your temple and move it in circles. This means a person is crazy “louco” in Portuguese.
Friendship: Rub your two index fingers together to signify closeness or friendship.
Bad driver: Rub the front of your fingers to your cheek to suggest someone is a bad driver. This gesture is not as common as it used to be. They call someone that is a bad driver a barber “barbeiro” and the fingers rub against the cheek to resemble a blade shaving off one’s beard like a barber does.
Expensive: Rub your thumb and index finger together to show that something is expensive or that you need money.
No: Hold your index finger up and shake your hand from side to side to indicate no. This is very common.
Don’t care: Hold your hands in front of you palms up, hit your fingers on the top and bottom changing hands to express you don’t know or don’t care.
Full: Hold one hand in front of you palm up. Bring your fingers and thumb together to indicate a place if packed full of people. This is used a lot by taxi drivers when their car is already full.
Speed or fast: Hold your thumb and middle finger together. Shake your hand hard so that the finger and thumb make a snap. This means hurry or fast.
Obscene: The American okay sign inverted is very vulgar in Brazil. It is the same as giving the middle finger in the U.S. It is best to avoid the American okay sign to be sure you don’t use it wrong and use the Brazilian okay sign which is the thumbs up.
Brazilians enjoy it when foreigners take the time to learn some of their phrases and use their slang or gestures. Try some of these out on your next trip there. Enjoy the fun spirited and friendly people of Brazil!
Brought to you by: World Cup Brazil 2014