Say it in Portuguese: “pomada” and “cachucho”

Strange, quirky, odd? Yes, but also peculiar and unique. Portuguese language may sometimes be considered difficult but you can’t deny its beauty. Right? Riiiight?

As with most languages (probably all of them) in Portuguese there are differences between the way you speak and the way you write, with spoken Portuguese generally being a lot more informal than written Portuguese. If you’re living in the country (or planning to) it makes a world of difference to know at least some informal words and expressions.

Knowing a bit of slang actually makes you a more proficient user of any language because, let’s face it, everybody uses slang words in their daily lives. In the specific context of the Portuguese language these are the kind of words that will make a difference between communicating on a simple level and actually impressing your Portuguese neighbours, coworkers or family members.

With that in mind I’m starting a series of posts dedicated to Portuguese words and phrases which: a) are uncommon; b) may sound strange to non-Portuguese speakers; c) can have multiple meanings; or d) fit into several of the boxes above.

Bear in mind these words are used only in informal situations. Beware however, because some may have different meanings in different parts of the country and, particularly in cities, some words may have an added meaning stemming from their use in Brazilian Portuguese.


feminine noun (a pomada) – puˈmadɐ

Although the word pomada is generally used in its common meaning, that of ointment or salve, everything changes if there’s wine nearby (amirite?!).

When, for example, you’re in a group of friends and you’re drinking a great wine you can say “É uma pomada“. If you find a forgotten bottle (let’s say, in your new Portuguese home) or if someone offers you a wine you know nothing about (so you have some doubts but expect it to be amazing), go ahead and say “Deve ser cá uma pomada!”.

“Boa / bela/ grande pomada!” Good/ beautiful/ big pomada: the informal equivalent of saying “É um belo vinho!” (literally: “It’s a beautiful wine”).


masculine noun (o cachucho)

ca.chu.cho – kɐˈʃuʃu

Cachucho is, first of all, a fish which you’ll often find in smaller typical Portuguese restaurants served fried with a side of arroz de feijão (rice with beans, but not the Brazilian kind), arroz de tomate (tomato rice) or arroz de grelos (rice with greens, usually turnip greens). But if you’re showing off your jewellry and someone says you have a big cachucho that means you have a big flashy ring – simple as that.

Have you ever come across any of these words in Portugal? I’d love to know!


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