When learning Portuguese, students might worry about verb conjugations and the right pronunciation. However, when coming to Brazil, we highly suggest you learn a few cool adjectives in Portuguese you can use daily.

We are sure you will be dying to say how beautiful the Cariocas are, how wonderful Rio de Janeiro beaches can be and how tasty the Brazilian feijoada is. Therefore, learning adjectives in Portuguese can be an ace up your sleeve when expressing your feelings about Brazil or telling people about the incredible experiences you had in the Marvellous City.

Caminhos lists below a few cool adjectives every Brazilian Portuguese beginner must know!

Have in mind that most adjectives have gender in Portuguese: they are either masculine or feminine, switching the last letter of the word when representing each gender. 

adjectives in portuguese


1. Maneiro

Cariocas love to use this adjective to express how cool something or someone is! 

Examples: Esta música é muito maneira! / Conheci um menino maneiro ontem. (This song is really cool! / I have met a nice guy yesterday.)

2. Malandro

We usually say most Cariocas are ‘malandros‘ by nature, especially the guys. The word ‘malandro‘ can have different meanings, depending on the context. In a bad way, someone is considered ‘malandro’ if they don’t like to work much, are always expecting friends to pay for their expenses, or do small non-ethical things to get what they want. On the other hand, ‘malandro’ can also be a bohemian guy that loves the nightlife, especially samba parties, and really enjoy the company of pretty women — a true lady-killer. 

3. Maravilhoso

Rio de Janeiro is known as Cidade Maravilhosa, the Wonderful City! Maravilhoso (masculine form; or ‘maravilhosa‘ for the feminine form) is something that causes great admiration, wonder, fascination. You can use this adjective in Portuguese when referring to places, people, food, art — basically, anything you really like, you really think is awesome!

4. Caloroso

Brazilians are considered to be warm people. They get excited when meeting new people, they like to hug, kiss, and be affectionate even with people they are not that close to. They can also be very passionate about things they love, such as football teams. We use the adjective ‘caloroso‘ to describe this kind of enthusiasm.

Example: Hoje conheci uma família Brasileira e eles foram muito calorosos ao me receberem em sua casa. (Today I met a Brazilian family and they were very warm while welcoming me into their home.)

5. Gostoso

We can use the adjective ‘gostoso‘ to refer to people or food.

When talking about food, you may use this adjective to express your feelings about a really tasty dish, fruit, dessert, etc. 

When speaking about people, you need to be careful. You can use this adjective to talk about a really sexy person that has a nice body. However, you may reserve this adjective to use with your significant other, someone you have some kind of intimacy with. It is very common in Brazil for guys to use this word to pick up girls on the street, but it is not something nice to do, it is impolite and rude. 

6. Gato

As a noun ‘gato‘ is an animal, a cat. However, when speaking about people, this is slang to talk about people you think are attractive/beautiful/handsome. Learn more about Brazilian slang.

7. Estranho

This adjective in Portuguese can be used for multiple things. Translating it to English, ‘estranho‘ means ‘weird’.

When people say some place is ‘estranho‘, means it is dangerous, a deserted place, somewhere you should not go. 

When talking about people, you can use this word to refer to unusual individuals — even though the word has a bad connotation, it is not always used in a bad way, but to refer to someone unique and different from most people.

8. Atrasado

You must learn this adjective! You are going to use it a lot of times when talking about people from Rio de Janeiro and Brazilians in general. It means people that are not on time. Brazilians are never on time. Being 15 or 20 minutes late is very common for Brazilians. When talking about parties, the situation is even worse — if a party is set for 6 pm, it is common for Brazilians to show up at 7 or 7:30 pm.

9. Fofo

Something or someone cute, sweet, childlike. 

10. Nojento

You can use this adjective to tell something is dirty and disgusting. You can also use this word to talk about people who have unacceptable behavior, but have in mind that this is a way to scold them.

11. Cafona/Brega

You don’t switch between feminine and masculine with these adjectives. They are used to describe something that is out of fashion, no longer worn by people, and no longer considered pretty at present, fashionwise. 

12. Lindíssimo

‘Íssimo’ is a suffix in Portuguese largely used by Brazilians to intensify the meaning of an adjective. ‘Lindo’ is one of the adjectives in Portuguese that can be used to express how beautiful something is. And the word ‘lindíssimo’ is widely used by Brazilians. As we are very intense people, we like to put things in a much bigger perspective. In the end, if we really like something, we tend to make it seems like the said thing is much better than it really is.

13. Abusado

This Brazilian Portuguese adjective means people that go beyond what is reasonable or allowed. It is usually a bad adjective but can be used in a playful way between friends.

14. Tranquilo

Someone or something calm and peaceful. It is very common to use this adjective to refer to a person that is easygoing and pleasant to be around. This adjective can also be used to talk about a calm place, with not so many people around.

Example: Eu realmente gostei da praia da Reserva, é uma praia muito tranquila. (I really enjoyed Reserva beach, it is a very quiet beach.)

15. Foda

Be aware of how, when, and where you are going to use this word. This is a bad word in Portuguese. But it is also a widely used one. As an adjective, ‘foda‘ express something that is really really really cool. Use this to express unique amazing experiences, really incredible people, and places that are out of this world! Keep an eye on Caminhos’ blog. We are going to write an article about Brazilian bad words soon.


If you want to learn more about adjectives in Portuguese and other language tips, please check our tag Learn Portuguese Language and Portuguese Grammar for great articles.


Study Portuguese in Brazil and experience the best of Rio de Janeiro. Our special courses include Portuguese + Surf lessonsPortuguese + Capoeira, and Portuguese + Samba classesLearn Brazilian Portuguese while having fun in Rio!


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