How to Say Idiom in Portuguese: A Comprehensive Guide

Idioms are an essential part of any language, including Portuguese. These colorful expressions allow us to communicate figuratively, adding depth and richness to our conversations. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how to say “idiom” in Portuguese, covering both formal and informal ways. We’ll also provide useful tips, examples, and even touch upon regional variations, as relevant. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say “Idiom” in Portuguese

When it comes to formal language, it’s important to be precise and use the appropriate terms. Here are a few formal options for saying “idiom” in Portuguese:

  1. Expressão Idiomática: This is the most common and formal way to refer to an idiom in Portuguese. For example, you can say, “Esta expressão é um exemplo de uma expressão idiomática” (This expression is an example of an idiomatic expression).
  2. Frases Feitas: While “frases feitas” translates to “set phrases,” it can also be used to refer to idiomatic expressions. For instance, you could say, “Muitas frases feitas em Português têm origem idiomática” (Many set phrases in Portuguese are idiomatic in nature).

Informal Ways to Say “Idiom” in Portuguese

Informal language allows for more relaxed and colloquial expressions. Here are a couple of informal ways to refer to an idiom in Portuguese:

  1. Maneira de Falar: Literally meaning “way of speaking,” this phrase is commonly used in informal contexts when discussing idiomatic expressions. For example, you can say, “Essa expressão é uma maneira de falar muito usada no Brasil” (This expression is a commonly used way of speaking in Brazil).
  2. Falar no Popular: This phrase translates to “speak in a popular [way]” and can be used informally to refer to idiomatic expressions used by the general population. For instance, you could say, “Vamos falar no popular: isso é um dito popular do nordeste do Brasil” (Let’s speak in a popular way: this is a popular saying from the Northeast region of Brazil).

Tips for Using Idioms Effectively

Now that you know how to say “idiom” in Portuguese, let’s explore some valuable tips for using idioms effectively:

  1. Learn Context: Idioms often have cultural and contextual relevance. Take the time to understand the background and history behind an idiom to use it appropriately.
  2. Practice Regularly: Make idioms a part of your daily language practice. Use them in conversations, writing, and even try incorporating them into your Portuguese studies.
  3. Explore Variations: Regional variations can add unique flavor to idiomatic expressions. Take the opportunity to learn different regional variations of idioms when studying Portuguese.
  4. Listen and Observe: Pay attention to native Portuguese speakers and how they use idioms. Observe their gestures, tone, and context to get a better understanding of when and how to use idiomatic expressions effectively.

Examples of Idioms in Portuguese

Now, let’s explore a variety of idiomatic expressions in Portuguese, showcasing their contextual usage:

Idiom: Matar dois coelhos com uma cajadada só.

Translation: To kill two birds with one stone.

Usage: Quando estou na cidade grande, aproveito para fazer compras e visitar meus amigos. Assim, mato dois coelhos com uma cajadada só. (When I’m in the big city, I take the opportunity to go shopping and visit my friends. That way, I kill two birds with one stone.)

Here’s another example:

Idiom: Chover no molhado.

Translation: To state the obvious.

Usage: Não se preocupe em explicar tudo de novo. Está chovendo no molhado. (Don’t worry about explaining everything again. You’re stating the obvious.)

Remember, idiomatic expressions are abundant in Portuguese, and exploring them further will enhance your language skills and cultural understanding!


From formal to informal ways of saying “idiom” in Portuguese, we covered a range of options. Remember to use “expressão idiomática” for formal contexts and “maneira de falar” for informal situations. Additionally, we provided valuable tips for using idioms effectively, including learning context, practicing regularly, exploring variations, and observing native speakers. Finally, we presented examples of idiomatic expressions in Portuguese, highlighting their usage in context. Now, armed with this guide, you’re ready to dive deeper into the colorful world of idioms in Portuguese!

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