One of the things we love to do when meeting someone that speaks another language is asking them to teach us a few bad words in their mother tongue, right? And, of course, if you are in the process of studying Brazilian Portuguese, you might be looking forward to learning some bad words in Portuguese as well.

In Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro, we have a bad habit of using bad words a lot. Not only when we swear, but also to express the intensity of our feelings — when we are too happy, when something is too awesome, when we feel pain…

Of course, we need to be cautious. Just because cariocas like to use bad words, it doesn’t mean it is acceptable to use it in every social situation. And it is very important for all of us to understand the various meanings of the bad words in Portuguese so we don’t use it inappropriately. 

Let’s learn a few bad words in Portuguese!


Someone who is not a good person. Someone who acted in a bad way, hurting people, thinking only about themselves or making people feel uncomfortable. Arrombado is a really bad word, it is a reference to the anus of someone. If you want to use a more acceptable word with the same meaning, you can use “vacilão“, which is slang but not a bad word in Portuguese. (Check more Brazilian slang, such as vacilão, here.)


Babaca can be used with the same meaning as “arrombado“. Even though it is a bad word, it’s not as bad as the last one. The person who is called a ‘babaca‘ usually did something stupid but not as bad as an ‘arrombado‘.


Caralho is one of the bad words in Portuguese used to describe the male sexual organ. Other bad words in Portuguese with the same meaning are pinto, pau, cacete, rola, piroca, etc. We use the word with this exact meaning in a sexual situation.

However, it is also a bad word used to curse when you feel pain, when go through a hard time or when you are stressed. We just shout the word!

Furthermore, this bad word is used to intensify emotions — such as surprise, anger, happiness — and great amounts (example: ‘frio pra caralho‘, means too cold; ‘gente pra caralho‘ means too many people).

There’s also an expression, ‘vai pro caralho‘, that in English has the same meaning as ‘go to hell’, but in a more hurtful way. It is commonly used when people are having an ugly fight.


The anus. There are lots of different expressions using this word. The most popular one is ‘vai tomar no cu‘, which has the same meaning as ‘vai pro caralho‘, as mentioned above.

Filho da puta

Same thing as ‘son of a bitch’ in English. ‘Puta‘ is an insult to women. Its masculine form, ‘puto‘, could also be used as an insult to men, but it is not that common.


As we have already mentioned in the ‘15 Brazilian Portuguese Adjectives Every Beginner Must Know‘ blog post, ‘foda‘ could be used as an adjective, a verb or a noun. It’s a very common bad word. However, it’s still not acceptable to be said during formal social gatherings. 

As an adjective, it means something is really cool! Used as a noun, it means the sexual act. And as a verb, it is used to insult people.

The expression ‘vai se foder‘ is very common. It basically has the same meaning as ‘vai tomar no cu‘ or ‘vai pro caralho‘ as mentioned above.

Another popular expression is ‘foda-se’. It is one of the most popular bad words in Portuguese, used when you give up something or just don’t care anymore about something/someone.


The formal meaning of ‘merda‘ is feces. It is used as a single word to curse when you are angry. It can also be used in a sentence to refer to something you are really mad about. (Example: ‘Essa merda de ônibus demora muito a passar‘ = ‘This fucking bus is taking too long to get here.’)


Piranha is a kind of fish. As a bad word, it has the same meaning of puta, explained above. It is an insult to women and should not be used. Unfortunately, during the carnival season, it is very common for men to dress up as sexy women and call themselves ‘piranhas‘. There are also lots of ‘blocos de carnaval‘ called ‘Bloco das Piranhas’, in which all men dress like that.


Probably the most common of all bad words in Portuguese. It can be applied just like the word ‘merda‘: as a single word used to curse, or in a sentence to intensify the feeling of anger. ‘Porra‘ is the vulgar word for semen. 


Now that you know a lot of bad words in Portuguese, please be careful of when, where and how you will use them. Be cautious of hurting or offending people. This blog post is about teaching you what these words really mean before you use them with other people.

If you want to study Brazilian Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, check out Caminhos Language Centre. We are the largest and most exciting Portuguese school in Brazil. We offer group classes, private lessons, student visas for Brazil and lots of free activities in Rio de Janeiro for you to learn Portuguese while having fun!

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