Quiz – American & Brazilian Expressions

On Monday, 22nd July I got together with English teacher, Amanda, for an Instagram Live where we tested each other on American and Brazilian expressions.

Amanda is from the US and has lived in Brazil before, so she speaks Brazilian Portuguese fluently. She teaches English to Brazilians on her YouTube channel, Instagram and Facebook pages.

Live streaming sessions on Instagram are only available for replay for 24 hrs, but I made sure to record it, so I could upload it on my YouTube channel as well. If you haven’t followed me on Instagram yet, make sure you do, so you can catch all future live sessions, as well as exclusive posts and stories: https://www.instagram.com/funwithbrazilianportuguese/

I hope you enjoy my chat with Amanda. It was really fun going through these commonly used American and Brazilian Expressions. You will find the Brazilian Expressions with examples, just below the video. 



1. dar zebra

(Lit. to give Zebra)

to have an unexpected bad result

– Eu estava preparado para o exame, mas deu zebra… tirei uma nota baixa!

– I was prepared for the test, but I unexpectedly got a low mark.

2. estar com a pulga atrás da orelha

(Lit. to have the flea behind the ear)

to suspect something is wrong

– Não acredito no que ela disse. Estou com a pulga atrás da orelha!

– I don’t believe what she said. I suspect something is wrong!

3. fazer uma vaquinha

(Lit. to make a little cow)

to collect money, to chip in so that a group can buy something together

– Vamos fazer uma vaquinha e comprar um presente pro Paulo? Amanhã é o aniversário dele.

– Let’s put some money down to buy a present for Paulo? Tomorrow is his birthday.

4. trocar as bolas

(Lit. to mix up the balls)

to make a mistake, to get mixed-up about something

– Desculpa, troquei as bolas com o teu troco.

– I’m sorry. I made a mistake about your change.

5. queimar o filme


(Lit. to burn the film)

to cramp one’s style, to ruin one’s image or reputation

– João não gosta que sua mãe o deixe na escola. Ele acha que isso queima o filme dele.

– João doesn’t like his mother to drop him off at school. He thinks it cramps his style.

6. tirar o cavalhinho da chuva

(Lit. to take the little horse out of the rain)

to give up on something/to forget about something because there is no chance it’s going to happen

– Eu não vou deixar voce ir à festa. Pode tirar o cavalinho da chuva!

– I’m not going to let you go to the party. You can forget about it (it’s not going to happen)!

Now that you’ve learned 6 popular Brazilian expressions, download my ebook:


  • 100 useful and widely used everyday expressions in Brazilian Portuguese with translation in English.
  • Examples based on everyday usage to show you how the words and phrases are used, also translated into English.

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2 thoughts on “Quiz – American & Brazilian Expressions”

  1. As an American, the US slang references were not very common ones. I have heard them, but would never use them. They might be more southeastern USA and older female is why. My wife is Brazilian from Campo Grande, so I thought I would double check your Brazilian slang and she said they are all very common. Great work! I am really enjoying your videos.

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