Foreign expressions that became part of the Portuguese language

See some foreign expressions that have become part of the Portuguese language

Whether you like it or not, foreign expressions have already been incorporated into Portuguese – and many other languages as well. 

Knowing the meaning and correct use of the most common expressions is very important. 

Why? First of all, because it will allow you to understand texts in which they are used. Second, because you may also need to use these expressions in specific situations. However, avoid using them just to look smart. 

Be aware that languages accept in their vocabulary several foreign words and expressions, often using them with their original meaning. 

Check out the main foreign words and foreign expressions currently used in our daily lives:


“E-mail” is a word that came up with the internet and, since its birth, it has rarely been translated as “correio eletrônico” (electronic mail) by people in Brazil. 

Along with it, you probably use words like “website”, “download”, among others. 


You’ve probably been to a self-service restaurant, right? 

Well, the word means “serviço próprio”, but it is not usual to translate it in Brazil. That alone will help you when you travel abroad, as you will have an idea of what you will find.


“I’m off”, “50% off”, “day off” – these expressions are everywhere and have been incorporated almost like native Portuguese words. 

On the internet, it became popular due to the word “offline”, but it has also been taken to the marketing segment, especially at times of clearance, signaling a discount percentage.


With popularization of fashion blogs on the internet, there was also a spread in the use of some expressions in English. In addition to “OOTD” (“outfit of the day” or “look do dia” in Portuguese), the word “look” came to be adopted when a fashion release is about to be announced, which is quite frequent.


Gamers are also one of the groups that have most incorporated the English language on a daily basis, due to their games. 

“Mod”, “multiplayer” and “cheat” are just a few examples. 

However, “LOL” is an expression that became popular even outside the virtual world and it stands for “laughing out loud” – it is used to indicate laughter.

Those who work in a business or corporation understand the importance of an effective feedback. The term doesn’t even need to be translated to make sense in Brazil. 

Feedback consists of assessing a specific action or attitude carried out by an employee. 


No matter where you are, in Brazil or in an English-speaking country, feedback is key in the work environment.


When a person says he/she had a “feeling”, it means they sensed something would happen. 

By adding this word to your vocabulary, it becomes easier to use it when studying English. 


You may be thinking that “show” is a very common word in the Portuguese language and that most Brazilians know what it means. 

However, be aware that this expression in English is not restricted to that meaning only. It can be translated as “mostrar” and is linked to thousands of other expressions such as “talk show”, “show up”, “game show”, “show off”, among others.


With the advancement of streaming services, playlists have become part of the daily lives of those who enjoy music. The expression consists of two words: “play” and “list”. 


The word is used both to determine the industry and as an adjective. In fact, “fashion” can be used in several expressions of our daily lives, especially when we refer to something in vogue.


“Diet” has a very popular translation in Portuguese (“dieta”), but when we read the labels of sugar-free products in Brazil, the most common word we find is “diet”. 


Whether at the airport, hotel or inn, when you check-in, it means you have arrived somewhere and asked someone to acknowledge your presence. The expression is so common that there is not even a translation into Portuguese that people usually use.

Does this happen only with Portuguese?

The use of foreign expressions is not exclusive to the Portuguese language. This happens with most languages around the world.

A good example is that English uses several expressions in French.

This shows languages are constantly evolving and how they evolve over time and as history unfolds.

Often, however complex a language may be, there will still be ideas, feelings and thoughts that cannot be expressed only with the terms existing within that language group.

That is why we “borrow” terms from other languages, which can often represent precisely what cannot be expressed in your own language.

Foreign expressions in another language

At some point, these words were forced into daily use because of the strong influence of a culture and became fully integrated after undergoing some degree of transformation. 

Currently, this is the case for several terms in English, especially those related to internet technology.

We can see that the number of foreign words and foreign expressions in the vocabulary of Brazilians is really increasing, and more and more foreignisms and neologisms tend to become common in the Brazilian culture. 

On the other hand, it is also noted that many of these foreign words that have been inserted into Portuguese have a  translation correspondence in Portuguese, but are commonly used in English because this was how they became known and because of media globalization.

Thus, it is clear that the English language is inserted in the Portuguese language through words in English commonly used by Brazilians, some unnecessarily, others because there is no other term that better defines them in Portuguese.

For this reason, when searching for a translation agency, try to find agencies that understand language interaction – and for that you can count on Fidelity. 

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