The word cara has a number of meanings and there are many different expressions in Brazilian Portuguese with this word as well.
In this post (part 1) we will cover five of these meanings and expressions. Look out for Part 2 when we’ll be covering some more expressions with the word cara.
- The basic meaning of the word is face.
Tem alguma coisa na minha cara?
Is there something on my face?
But let’s have a look at some common expressions with the word cara:
1. facial expression/look shown on the face.
The look on my face when a ‘gringo’ says: “I love Portuguese, but I can only say ‘gracias’!”
- Also, estar com uma cara de – lit. to have a face of, when you want to refer to how someone looks.
Voce tá com uma cara de cansado.
You look tired.
2. guy, man
- Either when we’re talking about someone else:
O Carlos é um cara muito legal.
Carlos is a very nice guy.
- Or when you are talking to someone directly (normally a friend). In this case it would be the equivalent in English of saying man or mate (British English).
Man, I’m not drunk. I’m just a little merry.
3. ter cara de pau
- Literally to have a face of wood – to have the nerve to do something that is considered wrong.
O Carlos rouba o wi-fi do vizinho e tem a cara de pau de postar no facebook que a internet tá muito devagar.
He steals the neighbour’s wi-fi and has the nerve to post on facebook that the internet is too slow.
- Also, cara de pau can be used to describe someone who is disrespectful, rude, shameless, inconsiderate, but it can also mean cheeky. In the example above of Carlos stealing the neighbour’s wi-fi, you could also say:
O Carlos é um cara de pau. Ele rouba o wi-fi do vizinho e posta no facebook que a internet tá muito devagar.
Carlos is shameless: He steals the neighbour’s wi-fi and posts on facebook that the internet is too slow.
- And you can also use cara de pau to refer to someone’s ‘face of wood’, i.e. the look of someone’s face when they have the nerve to do something wrong (to tell an obvious lie, for example). The closest in English would be poker face.
When I know you’re lying but I just keep observing your poker face.
4. cara amarrada
- grumpy face (Lit. tied up face) / Also: cara fechada (Lit. closed face)
“You can’t spend all day with this grumpy face!” Me:
5. encher a cara
- to get very drunk
– What did you learn with love?
– I learned to get very drunk.