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Portuguese Expressions of Excitement That Won’t Embarrass You

Portuguese Expressions of Excitement That Won't Embarrass You

Say you won a flight ticket to Brazil, all-inclusive. In a flash, you see in your mind days spent on the beach, smiling friends around you, great food…

You’re excited!

The first person you see as soon as you get the tickets is a Brazilian friend. Not being able to keep it to yourself, you turn to your friend and say:

Estou excitada!

And with a wry smile, your friend asks, “do you want me to introduce you to some friends?”

Your excitement changes immediately to puzzlement. Why did your friend say that?

Not All Portuguese Expressions of Excitement Are the Same

Sometimes it’s safe to translate directly from English into Portuguese.

After all, the shared parent — Latin — gave both English and Portuguese lots of vocabulary.

(Okay, English is not a romance language but you have about 60% of your vocabulary from Latin.)

But as distant cousins, Portuguese and English grew apart. After ten centuries, they changed. A lot.

And that change brought about an embarrassing difference to the word “excited”.

In English, it’s an innocent word to say you’re happy about something that is going to happen. You anticipate it.

In Portuguese, it means you’re horny.

And why did that friend react like that?

In Brazil we have a nice saying, “we lose the friendship but we don’t lose the joke”.

And How Should I Say “I’m Excited” in Portuguese?

Well, it depends on how excited you are. And what situation you find yourself in.

More formal and socially acceptable ways to say you’re excited.

Let’s say you got a new job.

A common trait of every new hire in a company is the excitement they express.

And here is how you would show your excited.

  • Estou animado para começar a trabalhar nesta empresa. I’m excited to start working in this company.
  • Estou animada com o trabalho. I am excited about the job.

And you should always pay attention to the preposition that goes with the noun.

Depending on what you use, you may change the meaning or sound odd.

I’ve prepared an article about verb and preposition combinations.

And if you’re more into video, you can watch this short YouTube presentation about some very common combinations of adjectives and prepositions in Portuguese.

  • Por que você está tão empolgado? Why are you so excited?
  • Estou entusiasmado com o novo curso. Vamos começar semana que vem. I am enthusiastic about the new course. We are going to start next week.
  • Estou ansioso para ver a minha namorada pessoalmente. Namoramos esses anos pela internet. I’m looking forward to seeing my girlfriend in person. We’ve been dating all these years on the Internet.

The word “ansioso” (“anxious”) conveys anticipation in Portuguese. So, if you’re anxious to see something it means you highly anticipate this thing.

  • Estou louco para te ver, meu amor. I’m really excited to see you, my dear.[ I anticipate it so much I am almost crazy with excitement.]

This one conveys a different degree of excitement.

The word “louco” (or its feminine counterpart, louca) means “crazy”. And as such it is quite strong. It’s what you would say if you hadn’t seen your loved one for months and finally had a chance to meet with them.

And the next two examples give you the most natural, versatile, and interesting ways to say you look forward to doing something in Portuguese.

  • Não vejo a hora de rever meus amigos. Espero que essa vacina saia logo. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends again. I hope this vaccine comes quickly.
  • Mal vejo a hora de poder voltar para a praia. I’m looking forward to being able to go back to the beach.

You see in the second example the word “mal”. In isolation, it’s simply “bad”.

But when it goes before the verb, it actually conveys a sense of scarcity or low degree of something.

In this case, the sentence translates literally as “I can hardly see the time…”

But you can also show your excitement with interjections in Portuguese.

It’s a simple matter.

If you won the lottery, what would you probably say?

  1. Holy F***!
  2. Oh my God, I am so excited about this opportunity to stop working because I won so much money.

You might be the oddball who chooses the second option.

But I bet you would probably say the first.

And although this kind of word is hard to retrieve immediately in Portuguese, there are some expressions of excitement that are less elaborate and more articulate.

  • Obrigada pela ajuda, João. Você é o cara! Thank you for the help John. You’re the man, you’re a bad ass.

“O cara” is a slang expression for “dude”.

And while this word is mostly masculine in Portuguese, you might hear that applied to women as well.

  • Quando o negócio é marketing, ela é o cara. When it comes to marketing, she is your woman.

Is implying that only males can be really good at what they do sexist? Sure. But you’ll hear that a lot in Portuguese.

By the way, a few years ago one of our most famous singers composed a hit that said, “I am that guy” (YouTube video clip) implying he was very important and capable.

I hate that song. It’s simply lazy. But it works.

Excitement and Shock!

You are taking a casual stroll in the park when you see Adam Driver.

If you’re John Oliver, you’ll probably be a tad too excited about this sight. And you’re likely say, “oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!”

The underlying feeling here is excitement with a mix of shock and disbelief.

How do you express that in Portuguese?

  • Mentira! É sério que a Lady Gaga te respondeu um e-mail? No way! Are you serious that Lady Gaga answered your email?
  • Não acredito! Não acredito que você ganhou na loteria! I can’t believe it! I can’t believe you won the lottery!
  • Estou chocada (o) / passada (o)! I’m impressed/flabbergasted! [more common among women – hence the feminine – and LGBTQIA+]

That’s Great! Portuguese Has That Expression, Too.

And many others, for that matter.

  • Maria, que demais! Você fez tudo isso sozinha? Mary, this is amazing! Did you do that all by yourself?
  • Maravilhas! Maravilha! “Magavilha”! Wonderful! (the last one is extremely informal.)
  • Que bom! Good for you!
  • Que ótimo! How great!
  • Legal! Cool!

And one Portuguese interjection I’m sorry not to see in the dubbed version of Brooklyn 99 is the perfect translation of “noice”.

  • Belezinha! Beleza! Nice!
  • Beleuza! Noice!

And When Things Go Against the Rules — Curse Words to Show Excitement in Portuguese

When reading a famous book, I was appalled by the sheer repetition of the expression “holy cow”.

If anything, that was just a fancy way to disguise the true words that were behind that expression.

And we do that in Portuguese as well 🙂

  • Minha nossa! Holy cow!
  • Minha nossa Senhora!
  • Poxa! Que legal! Wow, how cool!

And of course, “poxa” is a stand-in for a more common and versatile bad word that you can find more about here.

Wrap-up

I hope you’re excited and looking forward to using those Portuguese expressions of excitement with your Brazilian friends.

And if you got the time, tell me in the comments section below you: what are you really excited about and looking forward to in the next few days?

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