Portuguese proverbs

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Happiness is not a reward—it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment—it is a result.
Robert Green Ingersoll
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A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - Z

A

  • "A açorda faz a velha gorda e a menina formosa."
    • Translation: "The "açorda" fattens the old woman and makes the young woman shapeful".
    • Note: "Açorda" is a popular dish based upon bread and water.
  • "A boda e a baptizado não vás sem ser convidado."
    • Translation: Don't go uninvited to baptisms and weddings.
  • "A bom entendedor meia palavra basta."
    • Translation: "To those that understand well half a word is enough."
    • Meaning: Don't say more, I got it.
    • Meaning: I won't tell you more, you can get at the idea yourself
    • Equivalent: A word to the wise is enough / Half a word is enough for a wise man
    • Equivalent in Greek: Ο νοών νοείτο. "The minded knows."
  • "A caridade começa em casa."
    • Translation: "Charity begins at home"
    • Equivalent in French: Charité bien ordonnée commence par soi-même.
  • "A cavalo dado não se olha os dentes."
    • Translation: "One doesn't examine the teeth of a gift horse." (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.)
    • Don't be too choosy when something comes to you without effort.
    • Equivalent: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.
    • Equivalent in French: À cheval donné on ne regarde pas les dents
    • Equivalent in Greek: Του έδωσαν γάιδαρο και τον κοίταξε στα δόντια. "He was given a donkey and he was looking him at teeth."
  • "A falar é que a gente se entende."
    • Translation: Talking is the way for people to understand each other.
  • "A esperança é a última a morrer."
    • Translation: Hope is the last to die.
    • Variation: "A esperança é a última que morre."
    • Translation: Hope is the last one to die.
    • Meaning: Don´t give up!
    • Equivalent: Hope is life.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η ελπίδα πεθαίνει πάντα τελευταία. "Hope dies always last."
  • "A fome é o melhor tempero."
    • Translation: "Hunger is the best spice"
    • Variant: "A fome é a melhor cozinheira."
    • Translation: "Hunger is the best cook."
  • "A fruta proibida é a mais apetecida."
    • Translation: The forbidden fruit is the most desired.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η αμαρτία είναι γλυκιά. "The sin is sweet."
  • "A grama é sempre mais verde do lado do vizinho." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "The grass is always greener on the neighbor's side (of the fence)."
    • Portuguese version: "A galinha da vizinha é mais gorda que a minha." (My neighbour's chicken is fatter than mine)
    • Equivalent: The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
  • "A grande nau, grande tormenta."
    • Translation: To big ships, big storms.
    • Meaning: Bigger enterprises/projects have more and more difficult problems.
    • Usage: Sometimes, about ambitions for which the person is incompetent.
  • "A justiça começa em casa."
    • Translation: "Justice begins at home"
  • "A mentira tem perna curta."
    • Translation: "Lies are short legged."
  • "A melhor defesa é o ataque."
    • Translation: "The best defence is to attack"
    • Equivalence: "The best defence is a good offense."
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η καλύτερη άμυνα είναι η επίθεση.
  • "A morte não escolhe idades."
    • Transl.: Death doesn't pick ages.
    • Related Equivalent: "Death picks no sides."
  • "A necessidade é a mãe da invenção."
    • Equivalence: "Necessity is the mother of invention."
  • "A noite é boa conselheira."
    • Translation: "The night is a good counsellor"
    • Var.: "O travesseiro é bom conselheiro"
    • Transl.: The pillow is a good advisor.
  • "A ocasião faz o ladrão."
    • Translation: "The opportunity makes the thief."
  • "A ociosidade é a mãe de todos os vícios."
    • Translation: "Idleness is mother to all vices"
    • Var.: "A preguiça é a mãe de todos os vícios."
    • Transl.: "Laziness is the mother of all vices."
    • Equivalence: "Idle hands are the Devil's playground."
    • Equivalent in Greek (Ancient and Modern): Αργία μήτηρ πάσης κακίας.
  • "A palavra é de prata e o silêncio é de ouro."
    • Translation: "Words are silvery and silence is golden."
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η σιωπή είναι χρυσός.
  • "A pensar morreu um burro."
    • Transl.: A donkey died thinking.
    • Modern equivalent expression: "Você não é pago para pensar", You're not being paid to think.
  • "A pressa é inimiga da perfeição."
    • Translation: "Haste is the enemy of perfection."
      • Equivalence: "Haste makes waste."
  • "À primeira qualquer cai, à segunda cai qualquer, à terceira só cai quem quer."
    • Transl.: " One can be fooled once, twice can be one fooled, but can only be fooled the third time one that wants to be [fooled]."
    • Near equivelence: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
    • Near equivalence in Greek (mostly ancient): Το δις εξαμαρτείν ουκ ανδρός σοφου. "An error made twice does not fit a wise man."
  • "A quem muito se abaixa vê-se-lhe o rabo."
    • Transl.: Those who bend too much allow their ass to be seen.
    • Variant.: "A quem muito se agacha vê-se-lhe o rabo."
    • Transl.: Those who get too low allow their ass to be seen.
  • "A roupa suja lava-se em casa."
    • Transl.: Dirty clothes should be washed at home.
    • Meaning: Don't discuss your private matters in public.
    • Equivalence: Don't wash your dirty undewear in public.
    • Equivalence: Don't air your dirty laundry.
    • French Equivalence: Il faut laver son linge sale en famille.
    • Equivalent in Greek (ancient and modern): Τα εν οίκω μη εν δήμω. "Not for public the private ones."
  • "A sorte de uns é o azar de outros."
    • Transl.: One guy's good luck is the other guy's bad luck.
    • Possible equivalence: One man's junk is another man's treasure.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Ο θανατός σου η ζωή μου. "Your death is my life."
  • "A sorte favorece os audazes."
    • Translation: "Luck favours the bold"
    • Origin: Virgil "Audentes fortuna juvat" Wikipedia
  • "A união faz a força."
    • Translation: "Strength comes from Union."
      • Equivalence: "United we stand, divided we fall."
    • Equivalent in Greek (ancient and modern): Ισχύς εν τη ενώσει.
  • "A uns morrem as vacas, a outros parem os bois."
    • Transl: To some cows die, to others bulls give birth.
    • Meaning: whereas some men know only misfortune, on other men God's choicest gifts are poured.
  • "A vida começa aos 40"
    • Equivalence : "Life begins at forty"
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η ζωή αρχίζει στα σαράντα/Η ζωή ξεκινάει στα -άντα.
  • "A vingança é um prato que se serve frio."
    • Translation: "Revenge is a dish served cold."
    • Equivalent: "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
    • Equivalent in Greek: Η εκδίκηση είναι ένα πιάτο που τρώγεται κρύο.
  • "Achado não é roubado."
    • Translation: Found isn't stolen.
    • Equivalent: "Finders keepers"
  • "Água dá, água leva."
    • Translation: "Water gives, water takes away"
    • Near equivalent in Greek: Xους ην και εις χουν απελεύσην. "I was soil and I leave to soil." (Christian belief that body is made by soil.)
  • "Água e vento são meio sustento."
    • Transl.: Water and wind are [already] half your share.
    • Meaning: You're alive, that's not bad at all, you can go for the rest now.
  • "Água mole em pedra dura, tanto bate até que fura."
    • Variant: "Água mole em pedra dura, tanto dá até que fura."
    • Translation: "Soft water on hard rock will work until it makes a hole."
    • A praise to perseverance.
  • "Águas passadas não movem moinhos."
    • Translation: "Past waters don´t move watermills"
    • Meaning: Past accomplishments make no impact today.
  • "Água pelo São João tira azeite e não dá pão."
    • Translation: "Water by Saint John's (celebration) takes oil and doesn't give bread."
  • "Ajuda-te que Deus te ajudará."
    • Transl.: Help yourself and God will help you.
    • Equivalent: Don't ask God to guide your footsteps if you're not willing to move your feet.
    • Equivalent in French: Aide-toi et le ciel t'aidera.
    • Εquivalent in Greek: Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει. "Aided by Athena (ancient Greek godess) and move your hand."
  • "Albarda-se o burro à vontade do dono." (Port.)
    • Translation: "The donkey is to be loaded at its owner's will"
  • "Amarra-se o cavalo à vontade do dono."
    • Translation: "You tie the horse at the will of the master"
  • "Amigos amigos, negócios à parte."
    • Translation: "Friends are friends, business is [something] aside"
  • "Amigo não empata amigo."
    • Transl.: A friend doesn't hinder a friend.
  • "Amor com amor se paga."
    • Translation: "Love is paid with love"
  • "Amor e fé nas obras se vê."
    • Translation: "love and faith are seen in their works (effects)."
  • "Anda meio mundo a enganar o outro."
    • Translation: Half the world is trying to con the other half.
  • "Antes a morte que tal sorte."
    • Transl.: Rather death than such fate.
  • "Antes aqui que na farmácia."
    • Transl.: It's better [to spend] here than at the pharmacy.
  • "Antes cegues que mal vejas."
    • Translation.: You had better be blind than to badly see.
    • Similar equivalent in Greek: Στους τυφλούς βασιλεύει ο μονόφθαλμος. "Among the blind, the king is the one-eyed."
    • Equivalent in French: Il n'est pire aveugle que celui qui ne veut pas voir.
  • "Antes dentes que parentes."
    • Transl.: It's better [to lose] teeth than relatives.
  • "Antes morte que má sorte."
    • Transl.: Rather death than bad luck.
  • "Antes que cases, vê o que fazes."
    • Translation: "Before you marry, watch what you do."
  • "Antes quebrar que torcer."
    • Variant: "Mais vale quebrar que torcer."
    • Translation: It's better to break than to bend.
  • "Antes tarde do que nunca."
    • Variant: "Mais vale tarde do que nunca."
    • Translation/Equivalence: "Better late than never."
    • Equivalent in Greek: Κάλλιο αργά παρά ποτέ.
  • "Antes que cases, vê o que fazes."
    • Translation: "Before you marry, watch what you do."
  • "Ajoelhou, tem que rezar." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "If you've kneeled, you've got to pray."
    • Said to someone who agrees to do something, and later wants to give it up.
      • Equivalent : You made your bed now you lie on it.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Όπως έστρωσες θα κοιμηθέις.
  • "Antes tarde do que nunca."
    • Translation: "Better Late Than Never."
  • "Antes só do que mal acompanhado." (Brazil and Portugal)
    • Translation: "Rather alone than in bad company."
  • "Ao Diabo e à mulher nunca falta que fazer."
    • Transl.: The Devil and women have always something to do.
  • "Ao menino e ao borracho põe Deus a mão por baixo."
    • Variant: "Ao menino e ao borracho mete Deus a mão por baixo."
    • Translation: "To the child and the little bird (or drunkard), God catches the fall (puts a hand underneath)."
    • Near equivalent: God takes care of drunks.
    • Equivalent: Heaven protects children, sailors and drunks.
    • Equivalent variation: God looks after fools, drunkards, and the United States.
    • Equivalents in Greek (from Christianity Word):

1) Μακάριοι οι πτωχοί το πνεύματι. "Lucky those with poor spirit." 2) Ασθενείς και οδοιπόροι αμαρτίαν ούκ έχει. "Sick and travellers have no sin."

  • "Aquilo que sabe bem ou é pecado ou faz mal."
    • Translation: All pleasant things are either a sin or bad for your health.
  • "As aparências iludem." or, equivalently, "As aparências enganam."
    • Translation: "Looks can be deceiving."
  • "As boas contas fazem os bons amigos."
    • Translation: Good accounting makes good friends.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Οι καλοί λογαριασμόι κάνουν τους καλούς φίλους.
  • "As cadelas apressadas parem cães tortos."
    • Transl.: Hurried bitches give birth to twisted pups.
    • Variant: "As cadelas apressadas parem os filhos tortos/ mortos."
    • Translation: Hurried bitches give birth to twisted/dead youngs."
  • "As más noticias chegam depressa."
    • Transl.: Bad news arrive fast.
    • Equivalent: Bad news travel fast.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Τα κακά μαντάτα μαθαίνονται γρήγορα.
  • "As palavras loucas fazem as orelhas moucas."
    • Translation: Silly words make ears deaf.
  • "As palavras são como as cerejas."
    • Transl.: Words are like cherries.
    • Meaning: Cherries come out of the plate in chains. When you start talking, subjects pop up and you end up with long conversations.
    • Similar equivalent in Greek: Όπου ακους πολλά κεράσια κράτα και μικρά καλάθια. It means about "Where you hear much, be ready for less."
  • "As palavras voam, a escrita fica."
    • Transl.: Word fly, writings remain.
    • Equivalent: Words spoken vanish, those written remain.
    • Latin: Verba volant, scripta manent.
    • Ancient Greek (by Homer): Έπεα πτερόεντα. "Words are taken by wind"
    • Modern Greek: Τα γραπτά μένουν, τα λόγια πετούν.

[1]

  • "As paredes têm ouvidos."
    • Translation: "The walls have ears."
    • Be careful with what you say, for you never know who might be hearing.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Και οι τοίχοι έχουν αυτιά. Exact translation with the portuguese equivalent.
  • "Ás três é de vez."
    • Translation: The third time it will be final.
    • Equivalent in Greek: Μια του κλέφτη, δυο του κλέφτη, τρεις και η κακή του ώρα. "Once thief, twice thief, the third time is bad for him."
  • "Assim como vive o Rei, vivem os vassalos."
    • Translation: "As the king lives, so live his vassals."
  • "Até ao lavar dos cestos é vindima."
    • Translation: The time to collect grapes only ends with the washing of baskets.
    • Meaning: (1) We/They stay on until it's over. (2) Don't quit until it's over. (3) We / They will grab what we/they can while it lasts.
    • Equivalence: It's not over 'till it's over.
    • Equivalence: There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.
  • "Atrás de mim virá quem de mim bom fará."
    • Translation: After me will come one that will make from me a good person [in the public view].

B

  • "Barriga cheia, companhia desfeita"
    • Transl.: The belly is full, the association is over.
    • Use: About people who leave or ignore you after having attained their objectives. Also in the sexual meaning. Sardonic, scornful.
  • "Bem se canta na Sé, mas é quem é."
    • Transl.: So well do they sing at the cathedral, but they're who they are.
    • Use: About orders, meaning, they're up there, they can say it.
  • "Boa árvore, bons frutos."
    • Translation: "Good tree, good fruits."
  • "Boda molhada, boda abençoada."
    • Translation: A wet wedding is a blessed wedding.
    • Use: When it rains at a wedding.
  • "Burros velhos não aprendem línguas."
    • Translation: "Old donkeys do not learn languages."
    • Equivalence: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
    • Equivalence in French: Ce n'est pas aux vieux singes qu'on apprend à faire des grimaces.
  • "Bem mal ceia quem come de mão alheia."
    • Translation: "It's an ill supper which come from other's hand."
  • "Brigas de namorados, amores dobrados."
    • Translation: "Lovers' fights, double loves."
  • "Brigam as comadres, descobrem-se as verdades."
    • Translation: "The midwives fight, the truths are discovered."
    • Variant: "Zangam-se as comadres, conhecem-se as verdades." (Port.)
    • Note: "Comadre" and "Compadre" also refer to the relationship between the parents of a wed couple. For instance, the man's mother is "comadre" of the woman's father, and he's her "compadre" (which is also a common treatment in some regions). So "comadres" can also mean the mothers of those wed. The same treatment applies between parents of a child and his/her godparents.

C

  • "Comer o pão que o diabo amassou"
    • Translation "Eating the bread that devil has kneaded."
  • "Cá e lá más fadas há."
    • Transl.: There and here you'll find bad fairies.
    • Meaning: You'll find bad people and things elsewhere too.
  • "Cá se fazem, cá se pagam."
    • Translation: "Here you do it, here you pay for it"
    • Variant: "Aqui se faz, aqui se paga"
    • Equivalence: "What goes around, comes around."
  • "Cada cabeça sua sentença."
    • Translation: "Each head its sentence."
    • Meaning: Everybody has his own, different opinion.
  • "Cada coisa com seu uso, cada roca com seu fuso."
    • Translation: Each thing has its use, and each thread its spindle.
    • Meaning: Everything and everyone has its place, its proper use and its complement.
  • "Cada macaco no seu galho."
    • Translation: "Each monkey on its branch."
    • Meaning: One should mind his own business. Everyone is to stay at their place, in a social or working sense.
  • "Cada maluco com a sua mania."
    • Translation: Every madman has its own enthusiasm.
    • Usage: About people with benignly unusual thought, speech or behavior.
  • "Cada qual é para o que nasce."
    • Translation: Each one is meant for what he was born for.
    • Usage: Fatalistic.
  • "Cada qual com o seu igual."
    • Translation: "Each one with his peer."
  • "Cada qual no seu ofício."
    • Translation: "Each one in their profession."
  • "Cada qual sabe onde lhe aperta o sapato."
    • Translation: "One knows where the shoe is too tight."
    • Meaning: only the person knows about his difficulties [on the matter at hand].
    • Possible equivalent: Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
  • "Cada terra com seu uso, cada roca com seu fuso."
    • Translation: To each land its uses, to each thread its spindle.
    • Variant: see above "cada coisa...".
    • Usage: About different customs in different lands.
  • "Cada um a seu dono."
    • Translation: "Each one to his owner."
  • "Cada um chega a brasa à sua sardinha."
    • Translation: Everyone gets the ember close to his own sardine.
    • Usage: About everyday egoism. About people who seek their own benefit in a particular cause without paying attention to others, specially if everybody starts doing it at the same time.
  • "Cada um come do que gosta."
    • Translation: Each person eats what he likes best.
    • Usage: About unusual appetites or behaviors.
  • "Cada um dá o que tem [e a mais não é obrigado]."
    • Translation: "One only gives what one has [and can't be made to give more]."
  • "Cada um por si e Deus por todos."
    • Translation: "Every man for himself and God for all."
    • Equivalent in French: Chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous.
  • "Cada um sabe as linhas com que se cose."
    • Translation: Each people knows with which line to sew.
    • Meaning: Let people do their own way, only they know what's good for them.
  • "Candeia que vai à frente alumia duas vezes."
    • Translation: [A] Lamp going in front give twice more light.
  • "Cão que ladra não morde."
    • Translation: Barking dog doesn't bite.
    • Meaning: People who only talk aren't dangerous.
    • Equivalence: Barking dogs seldom bite.
    • Equivalence: His bark is worse than his bite.
    • Equivalence in French: Chien qui aboie ne mord pas.
  • "Casa onde entra o sol não entra o médico."
    • Translation: [In a] House where the sun gets in, the doctor doesn't.
  • "Casa onde não há pão, todos ralham e ninguém tem razão."
    • Translation: "In a breadless home, everyone complains and nobody is right."
    • Usage: When people start arguing about many petty things when there is a serious and unavoidable lack of something important and usually not mentioned.
  • "Casa roubada, trancas à porta."
    • Translation: "Stolen house, bars on the door."
  • "Casamento e mortalha no céu se talha."
    • Translation: Marriage and shroud are made in Heaven.
  • "Casamento, apartamento."
    • Translation: Marriage, separation.
    • Meaning: When marrying you will leave your parents (and your parents will not intrude).
  • "Casarás, amansarás."
    • Translation: You'll marry, you'll get tame.
  • "Cavalo velho não pega andadura."
    • Translation: "Old horse doesn't learn how to walk."
    • Equivalence: "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
  • "Cesteiro que faz um cesto faz um cento se lhe derem verga e tempo"
    • Translation: "Basketeer who makes a basket makes a hundred if he's given wicker and time."
    • Usages: About someone who already did something (usually not a good one) and is likely to keep on doing it, provided he's allowed to.
  • "Chapa ganha, chapa gasta."
    • Translation: A cent earned, a cent spent.
    • Usage: About spending as quick as you earn it.
  • "Comer e coçar está no começar."
    • Translation: "To eat and to itch is in the beggining."
    • Usage: About things you want to keep on having, or acts repeating, after having started.
  • "Cão picado por cobra, tem medo de linguiça."
    • Translation: "A dog that has been bitten by a snake fears sausages"
    • Equivalence: "Once bitten, twice shy.**
  • "Cautela e caldos de galinha nunca fizeram mal a ninguém."
    • Translation: Care and chicken soup never hurt no-one.
    • Usage: When you apply minor care to a person or situation, in spite of, or in the absence of the appropriate care.
  • "Com mulher louca, andem as mãos e cale-se a boca."
    • Translation: With a foolish woman, let the hands move and the mouth stay shut.
  • "Com papas e bolos se enganam os tolos."
    • Translation: You fool the silly with porridge and cakes.
  • "Com tempo tudo se cura."
    • Translation: With time everything gets cured.
  • "Com vinagre não se apanham moscas."
    • Translation: You don't catch flies with vinegar.
    • Meaning: You wont get much from people by being unpleasant.
    • Equivalence: Honey catches more flies than vinegar.
  • "Come para viver, não vivas para comer."
    • Translation: Eat to live, don't live to eat.
    • Equivalent in French: Il faut manger pour vivre, et non vivre pour manger.
  • "Contas são contas."
    • Translation: Accounting is accounting.
    • Meaning: Everything is wondeful, but we have to keep our mutual accounting straight.
  • "Contra factos não há argumentos."
    • Translation: There are no arguments against facts.
    • Equivalent: There's no arguing about facts.
  • "Cu de bêbado não tem dono."
    • Translation: "A drunk's ass has no owner."
    • One should not place oneself in a situation where one is left totally vulnerable.
  • "Custa mais a mecha que o sebo."

D

  • "Da discussão nasce a luz."
    • Translation: "From dissension/discussion comes light."
  • "De boas intenções está o Inferno cheio."
    • Translation: "Hell is full of good intentions."
    • Equivalence: "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
  • "De Espanha, nem bom vento nem bom casamento."
    • Translation: "From Spain can come neither good winds nor good marriages."
    • Used to emphasize the rivalry between Portugal and Spain, in any context.
  • "De grão em grão enche a galinha o papo."
    • Translation: "Grain by grain the hen fills her crop."
    • Variant: Grão a grão enche a galinha o papo.
    • Equivalence: Even the greatest works are constructed stone by stone.
    • Equivalence: Many a little makes a mickle.
  • "De génio e de louco, todos temos um pouco."
    • Translation: "Of genius and crazy, we all have a little"
    • Variant: "De médico e de louco todos temos um pouco^".
    • Translation: We all have a little of physician and madman.
  • "De noite todos os gatos são pardos."
    • Translation: "At night all cats are grey."
  • "Defunto muito encomendado, vai directo para o Inferno."
    • Translation: "A deceased person much prayed for goes straight to hell"
    • A big funeral indicates a wicked life, or...
    • Evil men have big funerals.
    • Meaning: When you care/control in excess your enterprise is likely to fail.
  • "Deitar cedo e cedo erguer, dá saúde e faz crescer."
    • Translation: "Early sleep and early wake up, gives health and makes you grow."
    • Ironic variant rarely used: Deitar cedo e cedo erguer dá saúde e faz sono. ("[...] and makes you sleepy.")
    • Equivalent: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."
    • Equivalent in French: Coucher de poule et lever de corbeau écartent l'homme du tombeau.
  • "Depois da tempestade vem a bonança."
    • Translation: "After the storm comes tranquility."
  • "Depressa e bem, ninguém."
    • Variation: "Depressa e bem, não há quem."
    • Translation: Quick and well, nobody.
  • "Deus ajuda a quem cedo madruga."
    • Translation: "God helps him who wakes up early."
    • Equivalence: The early bird gets the worm.
  • "Deus ajuda aqueles que se ajudam a si mesmos."
    • Translation: "God helps those who help themselves."
  • "Deus dá nozes a quem não tem dentes [e dentes a quem não tem nozes]."
    • Translation: "God gives nuts to those that don't have teeth [and theet to those who don't have nuts]."
    • Those who have, get.
    • You never get what you want.
    • Usage: about someone who received something very good/expensive/needed he can't or doesn't know how to use fully and we really needed or wished to have for ourselves.
  • "Deus escreve certo por linhas tortas."
    • Variant: "Deus escreve direito por linhas tortas."
    • Translation: "God writes straight by curved lines."
    • Usage: About something good or profitable to us resulting from the evil schemes of others or a streak of bad luck, usually in a suprising manner.
  • "Devagar se vai ao longe."
    • Translation: "Slowly one goes far."
    • Equivalent French: Qui veut aller loin ménage sa monture.
  • "Dinheiro não traz felicidade."
    • Translation: "Money doesn't bring happiness."
  • "Dividir para conquistar."
    • Translation: "Divide to conquer."
    • Note: Latin: divide et impera.
  • "Diz o roto ao nu: Porque não te vestes tu?"
    • Translation: The ragged says to the naked: why don't you get dressed?
    • Equivalent: The pot calling the kettle black
    • Equivalent in French: C'est la paille et la poutre.
  • "Diz-me com quem andas dir-te-ei quem és."
    • Translation: "Tell me who you gather with and I'll tell you who you are."
    • Equivalence: A man is known by the company he keeps.
    • Equivalence: Birds of a feather flock together.
    • Equivalent in French: Dis-moi qui tu hantes, je te dirai qui tu es.
  • "Do prato à boca perde-se a sopa."
    • Translation: "From plate to mouth you can lose the soup."
    • Variant: "Da colher à boca perde-se a sopa."
    • "Translation: "You can lose the soup from the spoon to the mouth".
    • Equivalence. It ain't over 'till it's over.
    • Equivalence: There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip.
    • Equivalence in French: Il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres.
  • "Dois olhos vêem mais do que um só."
    • Translation: "Two eyes see better than only one."
  • "Dos males o menor."
    • Translation: "From (a number of possible) evil, (that was) the less."
    • Variant: "Do mal o menos".
    • Meaning: That was bad, but worse things could have happened.
    • Meaning: The lesser of two evils
  • "Duro com duro não faz bom muro."
    • Translation: "Hard with hard doesn't make a good wall."
    • Meaning: Two strong people together don't bring cohesion but dissension.

E

  • "É como trocar seis por meia dúzia."
    • Translation: "It's like exchanging six for half a dozen."
    • Used to complain against a change without practical results.
  • "É de pequenino que se torce o pepino."
    • Translation: "It's when it's small that the cucumber gets warped."
    • Bad habits acquired during early life last long.
    • Children should learn good habits from a tender age.
  • "É difícil agradar a Gregos e Troianos."
    • Translation: It´s hard to please both Greeks and Trojans.
    • Variation: "Não se pode agradar a Gregos e a Troianos".
    • Translation: You can't please both Greeks and Trojans.
    • Meaning: You can't please everybody.
    • Equivalence: You can't have it both ways.
  • É mais fácil apanhar um mentiroso do que um coxo"
    • Translation: "It's easier to catch a liar than a limping person"
    • Usage: About liars uncovered, or when you suspect you're going to uncover one.
  • "É melhor não cutucar onça com vara curta." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "It's better not to poke a jaguar with a short staff."
    • Equivalence: "Let sleeping dogs lie."
    • Equivalence: "To sup with the Devil, use a long spoon."
    • Meaning: Don't get yourself uselessly into risky situations.
  • "Em Abril águas mil."
    • Translation: "In April, thousands of water."
    • Meaning: A weather proverb: it usually rains a lot in April in Portugal.
  • "Em boca fechada não entra mosca."
    • Translation: "A fly won't get into a closed mouth."
    • Know when to keep quiet.
    • Equivalent: A closed mouth catches no flies.
  • "Em casa de ferreiro, o espeto é de pau"
    • Variant: "Casa de ferreiro, espeto de pau".
    • Translation: "In a blacksmith's house the skewer is made of wood"
    • Equivalence: The shoemaker's children have no shoes.
  • Em casa de gente pobre, cada vida vale um cobre"
    • Translation: "In poor peoples' houses, each life is worth (nothing more than) a penny"
  • "Em pouco muito se diz."
    • Translation: In little much can be said.
  • "Em rio que tem piranha, macaco bebe água de canudinho." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "In a piranha infested river, monkeys drink water using a straw."
    • Variation: "Em rio que tem piranha, jacaré nada de costas." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "In a piranha infested river, alligators do backstroke swimming."
    • Meaning: Be careful in risky situations.
  • "Em tempo de guerra não se limpam armas."
    • Translation: "During war you don't clean your weapons."
    • Meaning: No time for the usual things in a strong situation.
  • "Em terra de cegos, quem tem um olho é rei."
    • Variant: "Em terra de cegos, quem tem olho é rei."
    • Equivalence: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
  • "Ele a dar-lhe e a burra a mijar para trás."
    • Translation: He keeps hitting her end the [female] donkey keeps pissing backwards.
    • Usage: When a person has been frequently corrected about an error but doesn't change
  • "Enquanto há vida, há esperança."
    • Translation: "While there's life, there's hope."
  • "Enquanto o pau vai e vem folgam as costas."
    • Translation: while the stick comes and goes the back is at rest.
    • Meaning: In between difficult situations you can have some rest.
  • "Entradas de leão, saídas de cordeiro".
    • Translation: Lion entries, lamb's exits.
    • Usage: About someone who enters a situation strongly and defiantly and exits it humbly.
  • "Entre marido e mulher não se mete a colher."
    • Translation: "Between husband and wife, one doesn't put the spoon."
    • Variant: "Entre marido e mulher não metas a colher."
    • Meaning: One shouldn't mess with a couples private life, or anyone's for that matter.
    • Equivalent in French: Entre l'arbre et l'écorce, il ne faut pas mettre le doigt.
  • "Entre mortos e feridos alguem há-de escapar."
    • Translation: Among the dead and the wounded someone will get out [unscathed]
    • Meaning: In spite of the disastrous situation someone or something will still not suffer damage
  • "Errar é humano; perdoar é divino."
    • Equivalence: "To err is human; to forgive, divine." (Pline)
    • Latin: errare humanum est
  • "Errar é humano; insistir no erro é burrice."
    • Translation: "To make a error is human; pushing the same error is dumb."
  • "Esta vida são dois dias e o Carnaval são três."
    • Translation: This life last two days and the Carnival lasts three
    • Meaning: Enjoy life. "Don't worry, be happy."

F

  • "Faça o que eu digo, não faça o que eu faço."
    • Translation: "Do as I say, not as I do."
    • Used mainly by parents to reinforce telling their childen to obey without setting the example (ex. telling children to go to bed before they do)
    • Variation: "Sermão do Frei Tomás: faz o que ele diz, não faças o que ele faz."
    • Translation: "Friar Thomas sermon: do what he says, don't do what he does."
  • "Falai no mau que ele sempre aparece."
    • Translation: Speak of the Evil and he'll always pop up.
    • Usage: When someone you're talking about pops up unexpectedly. Usually shortened to "Falai no mau...", or modified into "Não podes ser boa pessoa!", "You can't be a good person!".
    • Equivalence: Speak of the devil and he's sure to appear.
  • "Faz o bem sem olhares a quem."
    • Translation: Do good without looking at whom.
    • Note: a frequent motto for voluntary firemen.
  • "Feliz ao jogo, infeliz aos amores."
    • Translation: Lucky at gambling, unlucky at love.
    • Meaning: You can't have it all.
    • Meaning: Something good, something bad.
  • "Ferro que não se usa, gasta-o a ferrugem."
    • Translation: "Unused iron is ruined by rust."
    • Meaning: if you don't use it you lose it.
  • "Festa acabada, músicos a pé."
    • Translation: "Party over, musicians by foot."
  • "Fia-te na Virgem e não corras, verás o trambolhão que levas."
    • Translation: "Trust the virgin [Mary] and don't run and you'll se the stumble you'll get."
    • Meaning: Don't trust in chance and wait for things to happen; be alert and act. Or else.
  • "Fica tudo como dantes: quartel-general em Abrantes."
    • Translation: Everything stays as it was, headquarters at Abrantes.
    • Meaning: after all this work, things stay the same.
    • Usage: When after much deciding the decision is to stay as it was, or go back to a previous position
  • "Filho de peixe sabe nadar."
    • Translation: "Fish's child knows how to swim."
    • Variation: "Filho de peixe, peixinho é."
    • Translation: "The son of a fish is a little fish."
    • Equivalence: Like father, like son.
  • "Filhos criados, trabalhos dobrados."
    • Translation: "Raised children, doubled work."
  • "Filho és pai serás, assim como/conforme fizeres assim receberás/acharás."
    • Translation: you're a son, you'll be a father, as you'll do so you'll get
  • "Fui a casa da vizinha envergonhei-me, vim para a minha remediei-me."
    • Translation: I went to my neighbor's house and was ashamed of myself, I got back to mine and made do with what I had.

G

  • Gaba-te, cesta, que vais à vindima."
    • Translation: Praise yourself, basket, you're going to grape collecting
    • Usage: About someone praising himself. Usually condensed into "Gaba-te, cesta"
  • "Gaba-te, cesto, que vender-te quero."
    • Translation: Praise yourself, basket, for I want to sell you
  • "Gaivotas em terra, tempestade no mar."
    • Variant: Gaivotas em terra é sinal de tempestade.
    • Translation: "Gulls on land, storm at the sea."
    • Usage: When you see someone who usually you don't see, and that means trouble is going on somewhere.
  • "Geada na lama, água na cama."
    • Translation: "Frost on the mud, water on the bed."
  • "Gato escaldado tem medo de água fria."
    • Variant: "Gato escaldado, de água fria tem medo."
    • Translation: "A cat that has been scalded is afraid of cold water.". A scalded cat is afraid of cold water.
    • Equivalence: "Once bitten, twice shy."
    • Equivalence: A burned child dreads the fire.
    • Equivalence in French: Chat échaudé craint l'eau froide.
  • "Gato escondido com o rabo de fora."
    • Translation: "A cat that is hidden with its tail showing [out of the hidding place]."
    • Used to confront someone with a big plot to hide something, but with a small detail that compromises the entire thing.
  • "Gordura é formosura, magreza é beleza."
    • Translation: Plumpness is prettiness, thinness is beauty
    • Meaning: All women are beautiful.
  • "Gostos não se discutem."
    • Translation: You don't discuss tastes.
    • Equivalence: There's no accounting for taste.
    • From the Latin, de gustibus non disputandum est / de gustibus non disputatur,
  • "Grandes caminhadas, grandes mentiras."
    • Translation: "Big walks, big lies."
  • "Grandes peixes pescam-se em grandes rios."
    • Translation: "Big fish are fished for in big rivers."
  • "Grão a grão enche a galinha o papo"
    • Translation: "Grain by grain the hen fills the crop."
    • Meaning: Little by little and over time, you'll get your profit, satisfaction, etc.
  • "Guarda que fazer e não guardes de comer, que o comer azeda-se e o trabalho não."
    • Translation: Keep something to do but not something to eat, for food will turn sour but work won't
  • "Guardado está o bocado para quem o há de comer."
    • Translation: The piece is kept for whoever is going to eat it.
    • Usage: About someone or something you want to "eat", haven't managed to yet, but are sure to get.

H

  • "Há mais marés que marinheiros."
    • Translation: There are more tides than sailors.
    • Meaning: Don't despair upon this lost opportunity, you'll have another, or I'll have another.
    • Equivalence: There are plenty more fish in the sea.
  • "Há males que vêm por bem."
    • Translation: "There are bad things that come for the good."
  • "Há remédio para tudo menos para a morte."
    • Translation: There's a remedy to everything but death.
    • Meaning: Only death is final, all other problems have solutions.
  • "Homem pequenino, velhaco ou dançarino."
    • Variant: Homem pequenino é sacana ou bailarino.
    • Translation: "Small man, sly or dancer."
    • Usage: About a small man you get distrustful of, or expect deceit from. Implied in "Aquele não dança", "That one doesn't dance", said about a small man.
  • "Homem prevenido vale por dois."
    • Equivalence: Forewarned, forearmed.
  • "Hora a hora, Deus melhora."
    • Translation: Hour by hour, God improves.
    • Meaning: With time everything will get better.

I

  • "Infeliz no jogo, feliz no amor."
    • Translation: "Unlucky in gambling, lucky in love."

J

  • "Junta-te aos bons e serás como eles; junta-te aos maus e serás pior que eles. "
    • Translation: Go with the good and you'll be like them; go with the evil and you'll be worse than them.
    • Meaning: watch who you go around with.

L

  • "Ladrão não rouba a ladrão."
    • Translation: A thief doesn't rob a thief.
  • "Ladrão que rouba ladrão tem cem anos de perdão."
    • Translation: "Thief who steals from a thief has one hundred years of pardon."
  • "Lembra aos rapazes o que ao diabo esquece."
    • Translation: Boys come up with things even the Devil forgot.
    • Meaning: Boys come up with extraordinary things.
  • "Lenha verde pouco acende, e quem muito dorme pouco aprende."
    • Translation: Green logs hardly burn, and he who sleeps too much hardly learns anything.
  • "Lisboa é praça de armas, Coimbra dos estudantes, Porto dos mercadores, Vila Real dos amantes."
    • Translation: "Lisbon is square of weapons, Coimbra of the students, Porto of the merchants, Vila Real of the lovers."
  • "Lobo não come lobo."
    • Translation: "Wolf doesn't eat wolf."
  • "Longe dos olhos, longe do coração." (can also be "Longe da vista (sight), longe do coração")
    • Translation: "Far from the eyes, far from the heart."
    • Equivalence: "Out of sight, out of mind."
    • Variation: "O que os olhos não vêem, o coração não sente." ("What the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't feel.")
  • "Louvor em boca própria é vitupério."
    • Translation: "Praise in own mouth is insult."

M

  • "Macaco velho não mete a mão em cumbuca." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "An old monkey will not stick his hand into a jar (where it is liable to get stuck)."
    • The older are not likely to make the mistakes of the young.
  • "Mais depressa se apanha um mentiroso que um coxo."
    • Translation: You catch a liar faster than you catch a limping person.
    • Meaning: Don't lie, you'll be caught.
  • "Mais vale cair em graça do que ser engraçado."
    • Translation: It's better to be the subject of a joke than being funny.
  • "Mais vale prevenir do que remediar."
    • Translation: "It's best to prevent than to have to remedy (or fix)."
    • Equivalence: "Better safe then sorry.", "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
  • "Mais vale sê-lo que parecê-lo."
    • Translation: It's better to be [that] than to seem so.
  • "Mais vale só que mal acompanhado."(Portugal)
  • "Antes só que mal acompanhado."(Brazil)
    • Translation: "Rather alone than in bad company."
    • Usage: When someone is alone, or when someone prefers to evade someone else even if it implies going alone.
  • "Mais vale tarde do que nunca."
    • Translation: "Better late than never."
    • Equivalence: Better late than never.
  • "Mais vale um gosto do que seis vinténs."
    • Translation: "It´s better (to satisfy) a taste, than (to keep) sixpence."
    • Variant: "Mais vale um gosto na vida que seis vinténs na algibeira."
    • Translation: Rather (have) a pleasure in life than sixpence in the pocket.
    • Meaning: You can spend some money on what really pleases you instead of being miserable and regret not having had it (and keep boring us stiff with that).
  • "Mais vale um mau acordo que uma boa sentença."
    • Translation: A bad agreement [out of the court] is better than a good verdict.
    • Usage: About court judgements.
  • "Mais vale um pássaro na mão do que dois a voar."(Portugal)
  • "Mais vale um pássaro na mão do que dois voando."(Brazil)
    • Translation: "A bird in the hand has more worth than two flying."
    • Equivalence: "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
  • "Mais vale um 'toma' do que dois 'te darei'."
    • Translation: "It's better one 'Take this' than two 'I'll give it to you'."
  • "Mais vale uma palavra antes que duas depois."
    • Translation: A word before is better than two after.
    • Meaning: It's better to instruct than to correct.
  • "Mal de muitos consolo é."
    • Translation: "The misfortune of many is a consolation".
  • "Mal por mal, venha o Diabo e escolha."
    • Translation: Evil for evil, let the Devil come and choose.
    • Usage: When your stuck among bad solutions you can't choose from and give up choosing.
  • "Manda quem pode, obedece quem deve."
    • Translation: Who can commands, who must obeys.
    • Meaning: You heard the man, now do it.
    • Usage: Assertion of a command chain by underlings.
  • "Mãos frias, coração quente."
    • Translation: Cold hands, hot heart.
    • Usage: Said about people with cold hands, usually implying tenderness towards that person.
  • "Mente sã em corpo são."
    • From the Latin, mens sana in corpore sano.
    • Translation: "A healthy mind in a healthy body".
  • "Mesa sem pão é mesa de vilão."
    • Translation: A table without bread is a villain's table.
    • Usage: Of a table in which bread is absent.
  • "Minha casa, minha casinha - merda para o rei e para a rainha".
    • Translation : "My home, my small home - (it's) shit to the king and to the queen".
    • It does not matter how humble one's house is. It is always one's home.
  • "Mordedura de cão cura-se com o pêlo do mesmo cão."
    • Translation: A dog's bite is cured with the same dog's hair.
    • Meaning: similia similibus curantur, similar things cure the evils caused by one of them.
    • Usage: Encouraging a person to keep on in spite of having suffered a mishap.
  • "Morra Marta, morra farta."
    • Translation: Let Marta die, let her have plenty.
    • Meaning: Give up your scruples and have as much as you can.
    • Usage: When you give up on abstaining from something and go off on a binge, no matter what
  • "Morrer por morrer, morra o meu pai que é mais velho."
    • Translation: If it's just a matter of someone dying, then let my father die, as he's older.
  • "Morreu o bicho, acabou-se a peçonha."
    • Translation: The animal is dead, the venom has finished.
    • Meaning: We got finally rid of that venomous person and we can breathe much better now.
  • "Mudam-se os tempos, mudam-se as vontades."
    • Translation: times change, wills change
    • Meaning: even important ideas change with time.
  • "Muita parra e pouca uva."
    • Translation: Too many vine leaves and too few grapes.
    • Meaning: Too many unsubstantial things and too few useful ones.
    • Meaning: Too much talk, too little facts.
  • "Muito alcança quem não cansa."
    • Translation: He who doesn't get tired can reach much.
  • "Muito esquece a quem não sabe."
    • Translation: Much is forgotten by those who don't know.
    • Usage: About people who don't know and excuse themselves with lack of memory.
  • "Muito riso, pouco siso."
    • Translation: "Much laughter, little wisdom".
  • "Mulher doente, mulher para sempre."
    • Translation: A sick woman is forever.
    • Usage: About women who keep complaining about small aches.
  • "Mulher feia é casta por natureza."
    • Translation: The ugly woman is chaste by her own nature.
    • Meaning: You aren't that virtuous if your own natural compels you not to sin.

N

  • "Na adversidade é que se prova a amizade."
    • Translation: "Friendship is proven in adversity".
    • Equivalent: A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    • Equivalent in French: C'est dans le besoin qu'on reconnaît ses vrais amis.
  • "Não há bela sem senão nem feia sem sua graça."
    • Translation: "There´s no female beauty without imperfection nor ugly woman without something intersting."
    • Meaning: Nothing is flawless and nothing is completely uninteresting.
  • "Não há duas sem três."
    • Translation: There's no two without a three.
    • Meaning: If it happened twice, it will happen again.
    • Equivalent:
    • Equivalent in French: Jamais deux sans trois.
  • "Não há luar mais bonito que o de agosto."
    • Translation: "No better moonshine than in august."
  • "Não há galinha gorda por pouco dinheiro."
    • Translation: there are no fat chicken for little money (for cheap).
    • Meaning: there are no big bargains. Be suspicious otherwise.
  • "Não há rosas sem espinhos"
    • Translation: There are no roses without thorns.
  • "Não sabendo que era impossível, foi lá e fez."
    • Translation: "Not knowing twas impossible, he went (there) and did it."
  • "Não se deve despir um santo para vestir outro."
    • Translation: "Don´t undress one saint to dress another."
  • "Não se malha em ferro frio."
    • Translation: You don't strike iron while it's cold.
    • Equivalence: Strike while the iron is hot.
    • Equivalence in French: Il faut battre le fer pendant qu'il est chaud.
  • "Não chores sobre leite derramado."
    • Translation: "Don't cry over spilt milk."
  • "Não deixes para amanhã o que podes fazer hoje."
    • Translation: "Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do today."
    • Equivalence: "Carpe diem" (not quite - this means "Live life fully")
    • Equivalence: Don't put off (necessary) things until later.
    • Equivalence in French: Il ne faut jamais remettre au lendemain ce qu'on peut faire le jour même.
  • "Não ponhas a carroça à frente dos bois."
    • Translation: "Don't put the cart before the oxen."
    • Equivalence: "Don't put the cart before the horse."
    • Equivalence in French: Il ne faut pas mettre la charrue avant les bœufs.
  • "Não se pode ter sol na eira e chuva no nabal."
    • Translation: You can't have sun in the treshing floor (?) and rain in the turnip field.
    • Meaning: You can have it one way or the other, but not both.
    • Equivalence: "You can't have your cake and eat it too."
  • "Não se queima boa vela para mau defunto."
    • Translation: "If the deceased is no good, one shouldn't waste good candles on him."
    • Equivalence: "Don't throw good money after bad."
  • "Não se deve desdenhar o que se recebe graciosamente."
    • Translation: "You should not scorn that which you get for free"
  • "Navegar é preciso, viver não é preciso."
    • Translation: "To sail is necessary, to live is not necessary."
    • Other Translation: "To sail is very precise, to live is not quite so."
    • Origin: Latin "Navigare necesse; vivere non est necesse", Pompeus, Roman General, quoted by Plutarch, when his soldiers were refusing to proceed on aea journey; revived by Fernando Pessoa, and popularized in a song by a well-known Brazilian singer and composer Caetano Veloso in the music "Os Argonautas".
  • "Nem só de pão vive o homem."
    • Translation: "Not only of bread lives a man".
    • Equivalence: "Man does not live on bread alone."
  • "Nem tudo que reluz é ouro."
    • Variant: Nem tudo o que brilha é ouro.
    • Translation: "Not everything that shines is gold".
    • Equivalence: "Everything that glitters is not gold."
    • Equivalence: All that glitters is not gold.
  • "Ninguém é profeta na sua terra."
    • Translation: "No one is a prophet in his own land".
  • "Notícia ruim vem a cavalo."
    • Translation: "Bad news come on horseback."
    • Equivalence: "Bad news travels quickly."
  • "Novos tempos, novos costumes."
    • Translation: "New times, new habits."
  • "Nunca digas 'desta água não beberei'."
    • Translation: "Never say 'from this water I shall not drink'."
    • Equivalence: "Never say never."
    • Equivalence in French: Il ne faut jamais dire "Fontaine je ne boirai pas de ton eau".

O

  • "O amor é cego."
    • Translation: "Love is blind."
  • "O barato sai caro."
    • Variant: "O que é barato sai caro."
    • Translation: What is cheap is costly.
    • Meaning: The cheap things prove to be expensive at the end.
    • Equivalents: If you buy quality, you only cry once. If you buy cheaply, you pay dearly.
    • Note: also the conclusion of a high school fallacy: What is cheap is rare; what is rare is expensive; hence, what is cheap is expensive.
  • "O bom filho à casa torna."
    • Translation: The good son returns home.
    • Meaning: People and things always come back where they belong.
    • Note: Although in the present, the phrase speaks in the future.
  • "O bom médico é o do terceiro dia."
    • Translation: The good physician is the third day one.
    • Meaning: As most diseases only assume their best-known form by the third day or later, physicians from the previous days tend not to have much to diagnose with; hence, the third day doctor is the first to make the right diagnosis.
    • Note: Medical proverb.
  • "O calado é o melhor."
    • Translation: The silent guy is the best.
    • Meaning: In this situation, the best is to say nothing.
    • note: As Calado is also a common surname, this allows for some jokes.
  • "O comer e o coçar estão no começar."
    • Translation: Eating and scratching are in the beggining.
    • Meaning: There are things you don't want to stop doing after you begin.
  • "O crime não compensa."
    • Translation: "Crime doesn't pay."
  • "O cu não tem nada a ver com as calças."
    • Translation: The ass has nothing to do with the pants.
    • Usage: When you want to stress that two things are unrelated, even if they pop up in the same conversation topic.
    • Note: contains profanity.
  • "O Diabo não é tão mau como o pintam."
    • Translation: The Devil isn't as bad as they portray him.
    • Meaning: It's not as bad as they say.
  • "O dinheiro fez-se para se contar."
    • Translation: Money was made to be counted.
    • Usage: When you want to insist that someone counts the money you give him in front of you.
  • "O dinheiro fez-se para se gastar."
    • Translation: Money is meant to be spent.
  • "O dinheiro não nasce nas árvores."
    • Translation: "Money doesn't sprout on trees."
    • Usage: To people who want you to spend money you dont want to spend.
    • Usage: To people who spend money foolishly.
  • "O dinheiro não traz felicidade."
    • Translation: "Money doesn't bring happiness."
    • Cynical variant: O dinheiro não dá a felicidade, mas ajuda muito.
    • Translation: Money doesn't bring happiness, but it does help a lot to it.
  • "O gato comeu-te a língua?"(Portugal)
    • Translation: The cat ate your tongue?
    • Variation: "O gato mordeu a tua língua?"(Brazil)
    • Translation: "The cat bit your tongue?"
    • Said to someone who suddenly becomes mute.
    • Equivalence: "Cat got your tongue?"
    • Note: This is an expression, not a proverb.
  • "O futuro a Deus pertence."
    • Translation: The future belongs to God.
    • Meaning: You can't know about the future, so stop counting on it.
  • "O hábito é uma segunda Natureza."
    • Translation: "Custom is a second nature."
  • "O hábito não faz o monge."
    • Translation: "The habit doesn't make the monk."
    • Equivalence: "Clothes don't make the man."
  • "O Homem põe e Deus dispõe."
    • Translation: "What man can do, God can undo"
    • Equivalence: "The best laid plans of mice and men."
  • "O lume ao pé da estopa o diabo lhe sopra."
    • Translation: The devil will blow upon fire near oakum.
    • Meaning: If you create risky situations (such as leaving alone two teenagers of opposite sex) you will have the expectable result.
  • "O mal dos outros é consolo de parvos."
    • Translation: "The distress of others is the solace of idiots."
    • Meaning: Feeling better by knowing that the other is worse is not very clever.
  • "O olho do dono é que engorda o cavalo."
    • Translation: "The owner´s eye fattens the horse".
  • "O Português é uma língua muito traiçoeira."
    • Translation: Portuguese is a very treacherous language.
    • Usage: When someone makes a mistake, usually allowing for a funny (and/or embarassing) second interpretation.
  • "O mal está nos olhos de quem o vê."
    • Translation: The evil is in the eyes of who sees it.
    • Meaning: If you criticize others, you aren't very good yourself.
    • Meaning: Only you consider that an evil.
  • "O mau artífice queixa-se da ferramenta."
    • Translation: A bad worker complains about his tools.
    • Meaning: Incompetence is never assumed and usually blamed upon something or someone else.
    • Equivalence: A bad workman always blames his tools.
  • "O melão e a mulher conhecem-se pelo rabo."
    • Translation: Melons and women are known by their asses.
    • Meaning: About the habit of poking a melon in a given point in order to assess its ripeness.
    • Note: Knowledge, here, is usually not in the biblical sense.
    • Note: A bit rude. Contains slang.
  • "O óptimo é inimigo do bom."
    • Translation: The very best is the ennemy of the good.
    • Meaning: If you only want the very best you will lose all that's just good.
  • "O pior cego é aquele que não quer ver."
    • Translation: "The worst blind is the one who doesn't want to see."
    • Equivalent in French: Il n'est pire aveugle que celui qui ne veut pas voir.
    • See also: Antes cegues que mal vejas.
  • "O pote tanto vai à bica que um dia fica."
    • Variant: "Tantas vezes vai o cântaro à fonte que um dia se quebra."
    • Translation: "The pot goes so many times to the fountain that someday it will not be back."
  • "O primeiro milho é dos pardais."
    • Translation: The first corn is for sparrows.
    • Usage: When someone lost the first opportunity for something you wanted.
  • "O que arde, cura [e o que aperta, segura.]"
    • Translation: What burns, cures [and what is tight, holds.]
    • Usage: Frequently said about alcohol, in the short form, "O que arde, cura".
  • "O que arma a esparrela muitas vezes cai nela."
    • Translation: He who prepares the trap frequently falls on it.
    • Usage: To someone caught in his own schemes.
  • "O que é bom acaba depressa."
    • Translation: What is good ends quickly.
  • "O que é doce nunca amargou."
    • Translation: What is sweet never tastes sour.
  • "O que é nosso vem parar-nos à mão."
    • Translation: What is ours comes to our hands.
  • "O que é um peido pra quem está cagado?"
    • Translation: "What's a fart for someone who is soiled? (or shi***d)."
    • Note: Obviously, contains slang.
  • "O que não mata, engorda."
    • Translation: What doesn't kill, fattens.
    • Meaning: If it doesn't harm you you'll thrive on it
    • Alternative meaning: Everything's bad: it either kills or fattens (unusual)
    • Usage: To a person complaining excessively of a mishap
    • Usage: When you are about to have an unknown, unusual experience
    • Equivalent: That which does not kill you, makes you stronger. (Nietzsche.)
  • "O que não tem remédio remediado está."
    • Translation: What doesn't have any remedy is no longer a problem.
    • Meaning: Stop fretting, things you can't fix are no longer a problem, think of those you can fix.
  • "O que nasce torto, tarde ou nunca se endireita."(Portugal)
    • Translation: "What is born crooked, late ou never gets straightened."
  • "O que os olhos não vêem, o coração não sente."
    • Translation: "What the eyes don't see the heart doesn't feel."
    • Equivalence: "Out of sight, out of mind."
    • Variation: "Longe dos olhos, longe do coração." ("Far from the eyes, far from the heart.")
  • "O que tu sabes já eu me esqueci."
    • Translation: What you know, I already forgot.
    • Meaning: What you find so interesting now is something I already knew and forgot a long time ago.
  • "O rabo é o pior de esfolar."
    • Translation: The tail is the hardest part to peel (?).
    • Meaning: it's at the end that we'll get to the toughest part.
  • "O saber não ocupa lugar."
    • Translation: Knowledge uses up no space.
  • "O segredo é a alma do negócio."
    • Translation: Secrecy is the essence of business.
  • "O seguro morreu de velho."
    • Translation: The safe one died of old age.
    • Equivalence: Better safe than sorry.
    • Note: "Seguro" being a common surname, jokes are common.
  • "O seu a seu dono."
    • Translation: All things to their owner.
    • Equivalence: To each his own.
  • "O silêncio é de ouro."
    • Translation: "Silence is golden."
  • "O Sol quando nasce é para todos."
    • Translation: "The Sun, when it rises, is for everybody."
    • Meaning: There are things everybody is entitled to and you can't take them away.
  • "O trabalho dá saúde."
    • Translation: Work brings health.
  • "O trabalho não mata ninguém."
    • Translation: Working kills nobody.
  • "O vinho faz bem aos homens [quando são as mulheres que o bebem.]"
    • Translation: Wine is good for men [when it's women who drink it.]
  • "Onde há fumaça há fogo."
    • Variant: Onde há fumo há fogo. (Port.)
    • Translation: "Where there is smoke there is fire."
  • "Onde se ganha o pão, não se come a carne."
    • "Where you earn your bread, you don't eat the meat."
    • Meaning: Where you work, don't date.
  • "Olha por ti e fica-te por aí."
    • Translation: Look after yourself and no more than that.
    • Meaning: Stick to your own business.
  • "Onde está galo não canta galinha."
    • Translation: Where there's a cock, hens don't crow.
    • Note: About the relationship of women among themselves, and with men.
  • "Os amigos são para as ocasiões."
    • Translation: Friends are for occasions.
    • Usage: When you go to a friend to ask something.
  • "Os cães ladram mas a caravana passa."
    • Translation: Dogs bark, but the caravan keeps on.
    • Meaning: Pay no attention to what people say.
    • Note: From an Arab proverb.
  • "Os extremos tocam-se."
    • Translation: Extremes touch each other.
    • Meaning: Two extreme opposites are frequently similar or attracted to each other.
  • "Os fins justificam os meios."
    • Translation: "The ends justify the means."
  • "Os fins não justificam os meios."
    • Translation: "Ends do not justify the means."
    • Origin: a principle of Morals.
  • "Os homens não se medem aos palmos."
    • Translation: Men aren't measured with a hand's length.
    • Meaning: Small men aren't to be underestimated.
    • Meaning: Big men aren't always strong and brave.
  • "Os rios correm para o mar."
    • Translation: "The rivers flow to the ocean"
  • "Ovelha que berra, bocado que perde." (Portugal)
    • Translation: "A silent man accomplishes more than an incessant talker."

P

  • "Padres, primos e pombos. Os dois primeiros, não servem para casar. Os dois últimos só servem para sujar a casa."
    • Translation: "Priests, cousins and pigeons. The first two are not good to marry. The Last two, serve only to filth the house."
  • "Paga o justo pelo pecador."
    • Translation: The just pays for the sinner.
    • Meaning: Said about the injustice of general measures that penalize everybody, regardless.
  • "Palavra de rei não volta atrás."
    • Translation: Kings don't come back on what they say.
    • Meaning: I'll honor my word.
  • "Palavras, leva-as o vento."
    • Translation: "Words? The wind blow them"
  • "Palavras loucas, ouvidos moucos."
    • Translation: "Crazy words, closed ears."
  • "Palavra puxa palavra."
    • Translation: A word brings another word.
    • Usage: Said about the situation in which someone gets caught in an interesting and apparently endless conversation.
  • "Para baixo todos os santos ajudam, para cima é que as coisas mudam."
    • Translation: Downhill all saints help, uphill things change.
    • Meaning: So far things are going your way and everythings goes nicely, but soon things will change and you'll have to put effort in it and sweat it, you'll see.
  • "Para grandes males, grandes remédios."
    • Translation: "For big problems, big solutions."
  • "Para lá do Marão mandam os que lá estão."
    • Translation: Beyond the Marão (mountains), it's those who are there are in charge.
    • Meaning: You must heed local rules.
  • "Para morrer basta estar vivo."
    • Translation: All you need to die is to be alive.
    • Usage: Said to people worrying too much about death.
  • "Para quem é, bacalhau basta."
    • Translation: Considering who it is, codfish will be enough.
    • Meaning: We don't have to give our best for that person, as he'll be happy with less.
  • "Para quem sabe ler um pingo é letra."
    • Translation: "For those who can read, a dot is a letter"
  • "Para sacana, sacana e meio."
    • Translation: For a sly bastard, a sly bastard and a half.
    • Usage: About someone you intend to take revenge from, or not to trust at all, and serve him his own dish.
    • Note: contains slang.
  • "Para trás mija a burra."
    • Translation: Back is the way the female donkey pees.
    • Meaning: Going back is definitely not an option.
    • Note: contains slang.
  • "Parar é morrer."
    • Translation: Stopping is dying.
    • Meaning: it's not time to stop now.
    • Meaning: Don't quit.
  • "Passarinho que come pedra sabe o cu que tem."
    • Translation: A bird that eats stones, knows his own asshole.
    • Meaning: If you mess with something, be sure to deal with the consequences.
    • Note: contains profanity.
  • "Patrão fora, dia santo na loja."
    • Translation: "When the boss is out, is a holliday at the shop."
    • Meaning: unsupervised, people will not behave responsibly.
  • "Pelos frutos conhece-se a árvore."
    • Translation: By its fruits one knows the tree.
  • "Peixe não puxa carroça."
    • Translation: Fishes don't pull carts.
    • Meaning: I'd prefer meat.
  • "Pela aragem se vê quem vai na carruagem."
    • Translation: By the air you can see who's in the wagon.
    • Meaning: You can tell things by their looks.
    • Meaning: In the worst possible form: you can tell the class by the smell, no matter how disguised.
  • "Pela boca morre o peixe."
    • Translation: The fish dies by it's mouth.
    • Usage: To people saying things they shouldn't, and compromising themselves.
  • "Perde-se o velho por não poder e o novo por não saber."
    • Translation: The old man loses for not being able, the young man for not knowing how.
  • "Perdido por cem, perdido por mil."
    • Translation: lost by a hundred, lost by a thousand.
    • Meaning: You already lost, it no longer matters by how much you'll lose any more.
  • "Perdoa-se o mal que faz, pelo bem que sabe."
    • Translation: We forgive the bad it is for our health due to how good it tastes.
  • "Perguntar não ofende."
    • Translation: Asking doesn't offend.
  • "Pobrete, mas alegrete."
    • Translation: Poor, but happy.
  • "Pimenta nos olhos dos outros é colírio (ou refresco)." ou "Pimenta no cu dos outros é mel."
    • Translation: "Pepper in someone else's eyes is eyedrops (or refreshment)." or "Pepper in someone else's ass is honey."
    • As long as it's happening only to others, we're doing fine.
    • One can't know how bad misfortune is until one has experienced it.
  • "Pobreza não é vileza."
    • Translation: Poverty is not evil.
  • "Por morrer uma andorinha não acaba a primavera"
    • Variant: Por falta de uma andorinha não acaba a primavera.
    • Translation: The death of a swallow doesn't bring spring to and end
    • Usage: about a mishap in an otherwise excellent situation
  • "Por muito madrugar não amanhece mais cedo."
    • Translation: However early you wake up, the sun won't rise earlier.
    • Meaning: Everything on it's own time. Don't get too excited with anticipation.
  • "Por pouca saúde, mais vale nenhuma."
    • Translation: For bad health, I'd rather have none.
    • Meaning: I'd rather die than being this sick.
    • Meaning: You already lost, it no longer matters by how much you'll lose any more.
  • "Presunção e água benta, cada um toma a que quer."
    • Translation: each one helps himself of self-conceit and holy water.
    • Usage: About a very self-conceited person.
  • "Primeiro a obrigação, depois a devoção."
    • Translation: First comes duty, then devotion.
    • Meaning: First do your work, and only then what you best like.

Q

  • "Quando a esmola é demais, até o santo desconfia"
    • Translation: "When the alms is too large, even a saint will be suspicious."
    • Equivalence: "When something seems too good to be true, usualy it is"
    • Variation: "Quando a esmola é muita, o pobre desconfia." ("When the alms is too much, the poor will be suspicious.")
    • Variant: "Quando a esmola é grande o santo desconfia."
  • "Quando a maré é de azar, o urubu de baixo caga no de cima"
    • Translation: "When it is in an unlucky phase, the vulture below, shits on the vulture above."
    • Meaning: When things go wrong, even the impossible happens.
  • "Quando Deus quer, água fria é remédio."
    • Translation: God willing, [even] cold water is a medication.
  • "Quando Deus queria do norte chovia."
  • "Quando mija um português mijam sempre dois ou três."
    • Translation: When a portuguese pees, two or three always do it.
    • Meaning: Against imitation.
    • Note: Contains profanity.
  • "Quando o mar bate na rocha quem se lixa é o mexilhão."
    • Translation: When the sea hits the rock it's the clam that gets scr*w*d.
    • Meaning: About getting involved in a clash without the opponents even knowing or caring if you are there.
  • "Quando se faz uma panela faz-se um testo para ela."
    • Translation: When you make a pan you also make a cover for it.
    • Meaning: About matching people.
  • "Quando um burro fala, os outros baixam as orelhas."
    • Translation: " When a donkey speaks, the others lower their ears."
    • Variant: Quando um burro fala o outro abaixa as orelhas.
    • Meaning: When a person is speaking he shoudn't be interrupted.
    • Usage: When someone is interrupted while speaking.
  • "Quando um cai todos o pisam."
    • Translation: When someone falls everybody steps on him.
    • Meaning: If you're down everybody will drive down even further.
  • "Quanto maior a nau maior a tormenta."
    • Translation: The bigger the ship, the bigger the storm.
    • See: A grande nau grande tormenta.
  • "Quanto mais alto se sobe de mais alto se cai."
    • Translation: The higher you get, the bigger the fall is.
  • "Quanto mais choras, menos mijas."
    • Translation: The more you cry, the less you pee.
    • Usage: When you no longer listen to someone who is crying.
    • Note: Contains profanity.
  • "Quanto mais depressa mais devagar."
    • Translation: the faster, the slower.
    • Usage: About things made fast (or in haste) that end up being done slower than usual.
  • "Quanto mais se ganha, mais se gasta."
    • Translation: The more you earn, the more you spend.
  • "Que bem prega Frei Tomás: façam o que ele diz, e não o que ele faz."
    • Translation: How well does Brother Thomas preach; do what he says, not what he does.
    • Meaning: About people who give advice but don't follow it.
  • "Quem acha guarda."
    • Translation: Who finds keeps.
    • Equivalence: Finder's keeper.
  • "Quem anda de boca aberta, ou entra mosca ou sai asneira."
    • Translation: [To] who goes about with open mouth, either a fly gets in or a silly thing gets out.
    • Meaning: Close your mouth.
  • "Quem ao mais alto quer subir, ao mais baixo vem cair."
    • Translation: Who wants to climb to the highest will fall to the lowest.
  • "Quem avisa amigo é."
    • Variant: Quem te avisa teu amigo é.
    • Translation: He who warns you is a friend.
  • "Quem ama o feio, bonito lhe parece."
    • Translation: Who loves the ugly finds it beautiful.
    • Meaning: Love makes ugly things beautiful.
    • Meaning: Ugly things are loved by those who find them beautiful.
    • Equivalence: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
      • Common derivation of the above in Portuguese: A beleza está nos olhos de quem a vê
  • "Quem anda à chuva, molha-se."
    • Translation: "Who walks in the rain gets wet"
  • "Quem sai na chuva, é para se molhar." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "Who is in the rain is supposed to get wet"
    • Meaning: You took that risk, now you suffer a well know consequence, so don't complain.
  • "Quem bem vive bem morre."
    • Translation: Who lives well dies well.
  • "Quem boa cama faz nela se deita"
    • Translation: He who makes a good bed sleeps on it
    • Meaning: You reap what you sow
    • Alternative meaning: You did a good thing, now use it
    • Equivalent: As you make your bed, so you must lie in it.
    • Equivalent in French: Comme on fait son lit on se couche.
  • "Quem brinca com o fogo queima-se."
    • Translation: Who plays with fire gets burnt.
    • Meaning: If you are going to do risky things you must expect damage.
  • "Quem cabritos vende e cabras não tem, de algures lhe vem."
    • Translation: [To] who sells kids and has no female goats, they're likely to come from somewhere.
    • Usage: If you see someone sporting or doing something you know he can't possibly afford.
  • "Quem cala consente."
    • Translation: "Who remains silent agrees.”
  • "Quem canta seus males espanta."
    • Translation: Those who sing send their troubles away.
  • "Quem casa quer casa."
    • Translation: Those who marries want a home.
  • "Quem chega primeiro é o primeiro a aviar-se."
    • Translation: Who gest first is the first to help himself.
    • Equivalence: First come, first served.
  • "Quem conta um conto acrescenta um ponto."
    • Translation: "He who tells a tale adds a tail."
    • Meaning: When reporting to others things that have happened, people tend to add to it instead of telling it exactly like it happened (or they were told), or tell it their own way.
  • "Quem come a carne que roa os ossos."
    • Translation: "He who wants meat, has to eat also the bones."
    • Variant: Quem lhe comeu a carne que lhe roa os ossos.
    • Meaning: Who got the good part must have the bad part too now, not leave it to others.
    • Usage: About someone who was in for the good times and prepares to flee the bad ones.
  • "Quem com ferro mata, com ferro morre."
    • Variant: "Quem com ferro fere, com ferro será ferido."
    • Translation: "He who kills with iron, dies by iron"
    • Meaning: Who acts violently will suffer violence.
    • Equivalence: He who lives by the sword dies by the sword. (New Testament.)
  • "Quem com porcos se mistura farelos come."
    • Translation: Who goes around with pigs eats bran.
    • Meaning: Wo goes about with some companies either is like them or will so become.
  • "Quem corre por gosto, não cansa."
    • Translation: Who runs for pleasure never gets tired.
    • Usage: Of people who work (or something else) without ever getting tired because they like what they do.
  • "Quem dá aos pobres empresta a Deus."
    • Translation: Who gives to the poor lends to God.
  • "Quem dá e torna a tirar, ao Inferno vai parar."
    • Translation: Who gives and takes back goes to Hell.
    • Meaning: Don't ask back what you gave.
  • "Quem dá o que tem a mais não é obrigado."
    • Translation: Who gives what he has can't be asked to give more.
    • Usage: If after giving something you are asked to give more.
  • "Quem dá o que tem a pedir vem."
    • Translation: Who gives what he has ends up begging.
    • Meaning: Too much generosity isn't good for you and can make you a burden to others.
  • "Quem depressa foi depressa torna."
    • Translation: Who went away fast comes back fast.
  • "Quem desdenha quer comprar."
    • Translation: Who disdains wants to buy.
    • Usage: About haggling. About putting down something you want after all.
  • "Quem é amigo de todos não o é de ninguém."
    • Translation: Who is friends to everybody is a friend of nobody.
  • "Quem é vivo sempre aparece."
    • Translation: He who is alive always shows up.
    • Variation: " Não morres tão cedo."(Brazil)
    • Translation: "You won't die that soon".
    • Usage: Said to those who show up a moment after their name comes up in a conversation.
    • Usage: Said to someone you didn't see for a long time and pops up unexpectedly.
  • "Quem empresta não melhora."
    • Translation: Who lends doesn't improve.
    • Meaning: You can't help people by lending them money or something else.
  • "Quem escuta, de si ouve."
    • Translation: Who listens hears about himself.
    • Meaning: Don't go about listening, you are likely to hear about yourself.
  • "Quem espera por sapatos de defunto toda a vida anda descalço."
    • Translation: Who waits for the shoes of a dead man will go barefoot all his life.
    • Meaning: Count only with what you have, not upon future gains.
    • Equivalence: Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.
    • Equivalence in French: Il ne faut pas vendre la peau de l'ours avant de l'avoir tué.
  • "Quem espera sempre alcança."
    • Translation: "Who waits, always achieves"
  • "Quem está no convento é que sabe o que lhe vai dentro."
    • Translation: [Only] Who is in the convent knows what goes on inside.
    • Meaning: Only people going though a problem know how it is.
  • "Quem estiver mal que se mude."
    • Translation: Who doesn't feel well [here] must move.
  • "Quem faz o pino, vê o mundo mais direito."
    • Translation: "Who handstands, sees the world straighter."
  • "Quem gasta mais do que tem, mostra que siso não tem."
    • Translation: "Who spends more than they have, shows lack of wisdom."
  • "Quem guarda com fome, vem o rato e come."
    • Translation: "He who stores (food), albeit being hungry, the rat will come and eat it(the food)."
    • Meaning: Unused wealth is lost wealth
  • "Quem mais jura mais mente."
    • Translation: Who most swears lies the most.
  • "Quem mais pode mais deve."
    • Translation: Those who can more owe more.
    • Meaning: If you can do a lot, then you have more serious obligations.
  • "Quem mais tem mais quer."
    • Translation: "Those who have more, want even more."
  • "Quem mal ceia, toda a noite esperneia."
    • Translation: Who doesn't have enough supper is restless all night.
  • "Quem muito abarca pouco abraça."
    • Translation: "He who grasps at too much loses everything."
  • "Quem muito escolhe, ao mais ruim se apega."
    • Translation: Who gets too picky ends up with the worst.
  • "Quem muito espera desespera."
    • Translation: Who waits too long despairs.
  • "Quem muito fala pior ouve."
    • Translation: Who talks a lot listens even worse.
  • "Quem muito fala pouco acerta."
    • Translation: Who talks a lot is seldom right.
  • "Quem nada não se afoga."
    • Translation: Who swims doesn't drown.
    • Meaning: If you'e knowledgeable about the matter you will not suffer the consequences others would.
  • "Quem não arrisca não petisca."
    • Translation: "Who doesn't take a chance won't nibble."
    • Meaning: If you don't try, or take the risk, you can't have any profit.
    • Equivalent: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  • "Quem não chora não mama."
    • Translation: "Who doesn't cry doesn't suckle."
    • Equivalence: "The squeaky wheel gets the grease".
  • "Quem não come por ter comido, o mal não é de perigo."
    • Translation: It's no big problem if someone doesn't eat for having eaten before.
  • "Quem não deve não teme."
    • Translation: "Who owes nothing has nothing to fear."
  • "Quem não pode andar a cavalo anda a pé."
    • Translation: Who can't ride horseback goes on foot.
    • See: "Quem não tem cão caça com gato."
    • Meaning: I'll get there anyway, even if I take longer.
    • Equivalent:
    • Equivalent in French: Faute de grives, on mange des merles.
  • "Quem não pode arreia."
    • Translation: Who can't stand any more puts down the load.
    • Usage: For people who keep saying they can't stand something.
  • "Quem não quer ser lobo não lhe vista a pele."
    • Translation: Who doesn't want to be a wolf shouldn't wear it's hide.
    • Meaning: If you don't want to be treated like a [something], don't act like one.
  • "Quem não sabe é como quem não vê."
    • Translation: He who doesn't know is as if one who can't see.
    • Meaning: Ignorance is like blindness
    • Meaning: Some things are better not known.
  • "Quem não sabe nada não tem dúvidas."
    • Translation: Who doesn't know a thing has no doubts.
  • "Quem não sabe nadar vai ao fundo."
    • Translation: Who can't swim sinks.
  • "Quem não se sente, não é filho de boa gente."
    • Translation: Who doesn't feel isn't a good people's son.
    • Usage: Mostly about a necessary reaction to insults and supposed insults you are expected to answer to.
  • "Quem não tem cão caça com gato."
    • Translation: If you don't have a dog, you hunt with a cat.
    • Translation: Who has no dog hunts with a cat.
    • Meaning: Make do with what you have at hand.
  • "Quem não tem dinheiro não tem vícios."
    • Translation: Who has no money has no bad habits.
    • Meaning: If you want to keep your bad habits it's up to you to pay for them.
  • "Quem não tem panos não arma tendas."
    • Translation: Who has no cloth doesn't set up tents.
  • "Quem não tem unhas não toca guitarra."
    • Translation: Who doesn't have nails doesn't play the guitar.
    • Variant: "Quem tem unhas é que toca guitarra."
    • Translation: Only those who have nails play the guitar.
    • Variant: "Quem tem unhas que toque guitarra."
    • Translation: Let those who have nails play the guitar.
    • Meaning: Who doesn't have what it takes [personal qualities and skills] can't do it.
  • "Quem não trabalha não come."
    • Variant: "Quem não trabuca não manduca."
    • Translation: Who doesn't work doesn't eat.
    • Origin: Biblical (Deuteronomy?)
  • "Quem nasce para a merda nunca chega a cagalhão".
    • Translation: "Those born to be small shit never make it to turd.".
  • "Quem nasce para vintém, nunca chega a tostão".
    • Translation: "Those who are born to pennies never makes it to pounds".
  • "Quem nasce torto tarde ou nunca se endireita."
    • Translation: Who is born crooked late or never straightens up.
    • See: "O que nasce torto, tarde ou nunca se endireita."
  • "Quem nasceu para a forca não morre afogado."
    • Translation: Who is born for the gallows won't drown.
  • "Quem nasceu para burro nunca chega a cavalo."
    • Translation: Who was born to be a donkey never makes it to horse.
    • Note: "Burro" in Portuguese means "donkey" as well as "stupid".
  • "Quem nunca comeu melado, quando come, lambuza-se."
    • Translation: "Who never ate honey, when eating it, soils himself."
  • "Quem o alheio veste, na praça o despe."
    • Translation: Who dresses other undresses them in the marketplace.
    • Meaning: The people who help you are the first to talk badly about you in public.
  • "Quem paga adiantado é mal servido."
    • Translation: Who pays in advance is badly served.
  • "Quem parte e reparte e não fica com a melhor parte, ou é tolo ou não tem arte."
    • Translation: Who splits and distributes but doesn't keep the best share [for himself] is either dumb or has no craft.
  • "Quem parte velho paga novo."
    • Translation: Who breaks old pays new.
    • Meaning: Who damages an old object pays for a new one.
  • "Quem pensa, não casa; quem casa não pensa"
    • Translation: "Who thinks doesn't marry; who marries does not think"
  • "Quem primeiro se queixa foi quem atirou a ameixa."
    • Translation: Who complains first it who threw the plum.
    • Meaning: The first one to complain is frequently the author of the deed himself, trying to shift attention.
    • Equivalence (Amer.): He who smelt it, dealt it.
  • "Quem pode o mais pode o menos."
    • Translation: Who can do big can do small.
  • "Quem porfia mata a caça."
    • Translation: Who doesn't quit gets game.
    • Equivalence: All things come to those who can wait.
    • Equivalence: Every dog has his day.
  • "Quem procura sempre acha, se não um prego, uma tacha."
    • Translation: Who searches always finds; if not a nail, a tack.
    • Meaning: If you don't look for what you want you won't find it.
    • Meaning: People looking for something will come up with a finding, even if it's not exactly what they were looking for.
  • "Quem promete deve."
    • Translation: Who makes a promise owes something.
    • Equivalent in French: Chose promise, chose due.
  • "Quem promete não cumpre."
    • Translation: Who promises [too much] doesn't honor his promises.
  • "Quem quer vai, quem não quer fica."
    • Translation: Who wants to go, goes; who wants to stay, stays.
    • Usage: When it's time to go and there are undecided people.
  • "Quem quer vai, quem não quer manda."
    • Translation: " Those who want to go, go themselves. Those who don't, send others instead."
    • Variant: "Quem quer faz, quem não quer manda."
    • Translation: Who wants [something] does it himself, those who don't have it done.
    • Meaning: People with a real interest take care of the subject themselves; not so those who haven't.
  • "Quem sabe faz, quem não sabe ensina."
    • Translation: He who knows, does; he who doesn't, teaches.
  • "Quem sabe, sabe. Quem não sabe, aprende."
    • Translation: He who knows, knows. He who doesn't know, learns.
  • "Quem sai aos seus não degenera."
    • Translation: Who comes out similar to his own didn't degenerate.
    • Meaning: from a given kind you should expect similar offspring.
  • "Quem se mete em atalhos mete-se em trabalhos."
    • Translation: Who gets into shortcuts gets into trouble.
    • Meaning: Using supposedly faster ways of doing a something can give more work than the traditional way.
  • "Quem semeia ventos colhe tempestades."
    • Translation: He who plants winds harvests storms.
    • Meaning: the wrong things you do/say will come back to you even worse. Usually about plots and intrigue.
    • Approximate equivalent: What goes around comes around.
  • "Quem te cobre que te descubra."
    • Translation: Let he who covers you uncover/discover you.
  • "Quem tem boca não manda soprar."
    • Translation: Who has a mouth doesn't order to blow.
  • "Quem tem boca vai a Roma."
    • Translation: "If you have a mouth, you can go to Rome".
    • Meaning: Ask for directions as you go (be it travel or a process lenghty to explain).
  • "Quem tem calos não se mete em apertos."
    • Translation: Who has corns doesn't get himself into tight/crowded places.
    • Meaning: You knew you had that fragility, so you knew better than getting into a situation in which it hurt you.
  • "Quem tem capa sempre escapa."
    • Translation: Who has a cloak always gets away.
    • Meaning: Who has a protection always evades punishment.
    • Meaning: Who is lucky avoids the worst consequences of risky situations.
  • "Quem tem cu tem medo."
    • Translation: Who has an ass has fear.
    • Meaning: Who, like everybody, has a fragile spot, is afraid.
    • Meaning: Everybody feels fear, or can be afraid sometimes.
    • Note: Contains profanity.
  • "Quem tem filhos tem cadilhos."
    • Translation: Who has sons has problems.
  • "Quem tem pressa vai andando."
    • Translation: Who is in a hurry should get going [by foot].
    • Usage: To people complaining that "we're getting late" but won't leave either.
  • "Quem tem telhado de vidro não joga pedra [no telhado do vizinho]."
    • Variant: "Quem tem telhado de vidro não atira pedras [no do vizinho]."
    • Translation: "Those with glass roof shouldn't throw stones [to their neihgbor's]."
    • If you're vulnerable you shouldn't be attacking others.
    • Equivalence: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
  • "Quem tenta um pouco de tudo consegue muito de nada".
    • Translation: "He who tries a bit of everything accomplishes much of nothing".
    • Equivalence: "Jack of all trades, master of none."
  • "Quem tudo quer tudo perde."
    • Translation: Who wants all, loses all.
  • "Quem vai à guerra dá e leva."
    • Translation: When somebody goes to war, he not only beats, but also is beaten.
  • "Quem vai ao mar perde o lugar."
    • Translation: Who goes out to sea loses his place.
    • Variant: Quem foi ao mar perdeu o lugar.
    • Variation: "Quem foi ao ar perdeu o lugar, quem foi ao vento perdeu o assento."
    • Translation: He who goes out to the air (blown up) loses his place.
    • Meaning: Your absence allows your privileges to be taken away.
  • "Quem vê cara não vê coração."
    • Translation: "He who looks at the face doesn't see the heart."
    • Variant: Quem vê caras não vê corações. (Port.)
    • Translation: Who sees faces doesn't see hearts.
    • Meaning: You can't know what goes inside people by just looking.
    • Equivalence: "You can't tell a book by its cover."
  • "Quem viver verá."
    • Translation: "He who lives shall see."
  • "Quer queira quer não queira o burro há-de ir à feira."
    • Translation: Willing or not, the donkey will go to the fair.
    • Meaning: Come what comes, willing or not, I/he will do it.
  • "Querer é poder."
    • Translation: "To want is to be able/is power."
    • Equivalent: "Where there is a will, there is a way."
  • "Queres um conselho, pede-o ao velho."
    • Translation: If you want advice, ask it to the old man.

R

  • "Rei morto, rei posto."
    • Translation: Dead king, new king. (That's not really a good translation)
    • Usage: When someone is replaced outrageously fast.
  • "Roupa suja lava-se em casa."
    • Translation: "Dirty clothes one washes it at home."
    • Personal affairs are not to be discussed publicly.
    • See also: "A roupa suja lava-se me casa."
  • "Roma e Pavia não se fizeram num dia."
    • Translation: "Rome and Pavia weren't built in one day"
    • Meaning: Big projects take time and are made little by little.
    • Equivalence: Rome wasn't built in a day.
  • "Ri melhor quem ri por último."
    • Translation: Laughs better he who laughs last.
    • Equivalence: He who laughs last laughs best/longest.
  • "Rompe-se o saco à força de querer enchê-lo."
    • Translation: The sack tears open with the insistence in filling it.
    • Meaning: Oversizing some aspects beyond reasonable compromises an entire project.

S

  • "Saber é poder."
    • Translation: "Knowledge is power."
  • "Santo de casa não faz milagre."
    • Variant: "Santos de casa não fazem milagres." (Port.)
    • Translation: "Home saints don't make miracles."
    • Equivalence: "Nobody is a saint in his own hometown".
  • "São mais as vozes que as nozes."
    • Translation: There's more voices than nuts.
    • Meaning: Much is being said about it but little done.
    • Meaning: There's more things said about he/she/it than real facts.
  • "Sarampo sarampelo sete vezes vem ao pêlo."
    • Translation: Measles, measleslets, seven times come to the skin.
    • Meaning: An entire group of childhood diseases is similar to measles, so it is (wrongly) said here that measles occurs many times.
  • "Se a vida lhe der um limão, faça dele uma caipirinha." (Brazil)
    • Translation: "If life gives you a lemon, make a caipirinha out of it.
    • Meaning: Turn bad things into good ones
    • Equivalence: "If life gives you lemons, make a lemonade."
  • "Se idade fosse igual a sabedoria, qualquer burro velho era Desembargador jubilado"
    • Translation: "If old age was the same as wisdom, any old donkey would be a celebrated Justice"
    • Equivalence: "Some people get older, but get no wiser".
  • "Se não os podes vencer, junta-te a eles."
    • Translation: "If you can't beat them, join them."
  • "Se Maomé não vai à montanha, a montanha vai a Maomé."
    • Translation: "If Mohammad won't go to the mountain, the mountain will go to Mohammad"
  • "Se o casamento fosse bom, não precisava de testemunhas."
    • Translation: "If marriage were a good thing, it wouldn't need witnesses."
  • "Se o homem é a cabeça, a mulher é o pescoço"
    • Translation: "If the husband is the head, the wife ought to be his neck"
    • Meaning: The husband is the decision-maker, but his wife can change his mind/ turn his head
  • "Se o trabalho dá saúde, que trabalhem os doentes."
    • Translation: If work brings health, let the sick do it.
    • Meaning: ironic elaboration upon "O trabalho dá saúde." (See.)
  • "Se queres conhecer o vilão, põe-lhe uma vara na mão."
    • Translation: If you want to know villain, give him a stick.
  • "Se queres um grilo, vai pari-lo."
    • Translation: If you want a cricket go give birth to it.
    • Meaning: If you want it, work to get it.
    • Note: Contains profanity.
  • "Só a morte não tem remédio."
    • Translation: Only death has no cure.
    • Variant: Há remédio para tudo menos para a morte.
    • Translation: There's a remedy for everything but death.
  • "Só comete erros quem trabalha"
    • Translation: "Only people who work make mistakes"
    • Variant: Só não se engana quem não faz nada.
    • Translation: Only those who never do anything make no mistakes.
    • Usage: Said to someone who criticises the mistakes done, but didn't join the doing of the job.
    • Usage: The 2nd version, also to suggest that everyone makes mistakes.
  • "Só lembra Santa Bárbara quando troveja."
    • Translation: Saint Barbara is only remembered when there's a thunderstorm.
    • Meaning: You only pay attention to some people when you want something from them.
    • Note: Saint Barbara is the patron of and protector from thunderstorms.
  • "Só se dá o devido valor, àquilo que se perdeu [para sempre]."
    • Translation: "You only will know what something is really worth when you lose it [forever]."
  • "Só trabalha quem não sabe fazer mais nada."
    • Translation: Only those who can't do anything else work.
    • Usage: Usually from a "working class" person, complaining that he has to do manual labor because he doesn't know better.

T

  • "Tantas vezes vai o cântaro à fonte que um dia se quebra."
    • Translation: The pot goes so many times to the fountain that one day it will break.
    • Usage: About people taking repeatedly risks, like the risk of pregnancy.
    • See: "O pote tanto vai à bica que um dia fica."
  • "Tempo é dinheiro."
    • Translation: "Time is money." (Henry Ford)
  • "Tal pai, tal filho."
    • Translation/Equivalence: Like father, like son
  • "Tempo de guerra, mentira como terra."
    • Translation: "In time of war, lies (are as plentiful) as earth"
  • "Todo o burro come palha, a questão é saber-lha dar."
    • Translation: Every donkey eats hay, the matter is knowing how to give it to him.
    • Variant: "Todo o burro come palha, a questão é saber dar-lha."
    • Meaning: You can push anything on anyone, provided you know how to do it.
  • "Todo o homem tem o seu preço."
    • Translation: Every man has his price.
  • "Todos os caminhos vão dar a Roma."
    • Translation: All paths lead to Rome.
    • Equivalent: All roads lead to Rome.
  • "Trabalhar para aquecer, é melhor morrer de frio."
    • Translation: Work to get warm? It's better to die of cold.
    • Meaning: It's better not to work, than do it for something that won't bring in nothing practical, namely payment.
  • "Trabalho de menino é pouco, quem não o aproveita é louco."
    • Translation: A boy's work is little, but who doesn't use it is a fool.
    • Usage: About using children for light chores.
  • "Tristezas não pagam dívidas."
    • Translation: Sadnessess don't pay debts.
    • Meaning: Your situation is no doubt terrible, but I still want my due. Stop crying and pay it.
  • "Tudo o que entra é ganho."
    • Translation: Everything that gets in is a gain.
    • Alternative meaning: Everything that gets in was paid for.
  • "Tudo o que vem à rede é peixe."
    • Translation: All that comes to the net is a fish.
    • Similar to "Tudo o que entra é ganho."
    • Usage: In situations in which you can only have profit.
    • Usage: In situations in which you are willing to accept that anything you get is to be considered as profit, no matter what.

U

  • "Um abismo chama outro."
    • Translation: An abyss calls another.
    • From the Latin Abyssus abyssum invocat.
    • Note: unusual usage, very learned (Port.)
  • "Um dia não são dias."
    • Translation: One day isn't [many] days.
    • Meaning: To set apart a special occasion for a small pleasure you can't have many times.
  • "Um doutor é um burro carregado de livros."
    • Translation: A doctor is a book-loaded donkey.
    • Note: "Burro" means "donkey" and "dumb".
  • "Um, dois, três, foi a conta que Deus fez."
    • Translation: One, two, three, was the count God made.
    • Usage: Childish; when counting up to three.
  • "Uma desgraça nunca vem só."
    • Translation: a misfortune never comes alone.
    • Usage: in bad luck streaks.
  • "Uma mão lava a outra e as duas lavam o rosto."
    • Variant: "Uma mão lava a outra e juntas lavam a cara."
    • Translation: One hand washes the other and both of them wash the face.
    • Usage: About recovering your social "face".
  • "Uma ovelha má põe o rebanho a perder."
    • Translation: A bad sheep puts the herd to waste.
  • "Um homem prevenido vale por dois."
    • Translation: A forewarned man is worth two (men).
    • Equivalence: Forewarned is forearmed.
    • See: Homem prevenido vale por dois.
  • "Uns comem os figos, a outros rebenta a boca."
    • Translation: Some eat the figs, others get cracks in mouth
    • Meaning: Some do things, others talk about it
    • Meaning: Some get all the gain, others all the damage or undeserved punishment
    • Note: In some people, eating fresh figs makes their lips crack.

V

  • "Vai muito do dizer ao fazer."
    • Translation: There's a long way from saying to doing.
    • Equivalence: It's easier said than done.
  • "Vale mais passar de burro a cavalo, que de cavalo a burro."
    • Translation: It's better to change from donkey to horse than from horse into donkey.
    • Usage: Only the second half is used regularly in the expression "ir/passar de cavalo para burro", meaning going to a even worse situation.
  • "Vale mais um burro que nos leve que cavalo que nos derrube."
    • Translation: A donkey that carries you is better than a horse that throws you to the ground.
    • Meaning: Modestly but safely.
  • "Vão-se os anéis, fiquem os dedos."
    • Translation: Let the rings go, let the fingers stay
    • Equivalence: Health is better than wealth.
  • "Velhos são os trapos!"
    • Translation: Rags are old!
    • Usage: A common sentence used when someone, say, a 95 years old lady says she's old, and you mean to tell her, No, you're still a young girl, only rags are old.
  • "Voz do povo, voz de Deus."
    • Translation: The people's voice is God's voice.
    • Meaning: You had better heed when many people gather spontaneously about some cause.
    • Meaning: The voices of gossipers in the marketplace are God's own
    • Meaning: what you can hear here and there is unquestionable beacuse everybody is saying it
    • Note: A meta-proverb: a proverb about proverbs, the people's wisdom.
  • "Vozes de burro não chegam aos céus."
    • See: "Zurros de burro não chegam ao céu."

Z

  • "Zangam-se as comadres, sabem-se as verdades." (Port.)
    • See: "Brigam as comadres, descobrem-se as verdades."
  • ""Zangas de namorados, amores dobrados."
    • Translation: Boyfriend and girlfriend tantrums, doubled loves."
  • "Zurros de burro não chegam ao céu."
    • Translation: A donkey's cries don't reach heaven.
    • Variation: "Vozes de burro não chegam aos céus." (Port.)
    • Translation: Donkey voices don't reach heaven.
    • Meaning: say no more silly things, I'm not even listening.