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The Ultimate Guide to Intermediate Portuguese Words

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You have conquered the sometimes scary first steps of learning a new language. Your ears are used to the different rhythms of Portuguese, you can make all of those unique R sounds, and you can even write sentences about familiar topics in the language. Awesome! You’ve now reached the intermediate Portuguese level, and a whole new world is opening up!

Being an intermediate learner in a foreign language comes with dores e delícias (“pain and joy”). On the one hand, you have already conquered many of the initial stumbling blocks and you can consume some Brazilian media with ease. But on the other hand, there is a real possibility of getting stuck and reaching a plateau in terms of vocabulary, grammar, and self-expression.

Alongside a good dose of motivation and a smart study program, this article will help you with the common issues that intermediate Portuguese students face. How? It brings together 300+ words that you can add to your vocabulary. If you’re not familiar with some of them or don’t understand how to use them in sentences, this is a good indicator of your next steps! By tackling the different word categories and learning how to use the majority of the words presented, I guarantee you won’t get stuck in the intermediate limbo!

So roll up your sleeves, open your notebook, and warm up your vocal cords. It’s time to get familiar with the most important intermediate Portuguese nouns, verbs, adjectives, numbers, pronouns, and more!

Five Friends Getting Together for Dinner at One of Their Homes

Showcase your intermediate Portuguese skills when chatting with your friends!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Useful Pronouns
  2. Connect the Dots: Conjunctions
  3. Fill in the Blanks: Prepositions
  4. Making Sense of Numbers
  5. Call it by its Name: Nouns
  6. Make it Happen: Verbs
  7. Qualifiers: Adjectives
  8. Modify Verbs: Adverbs
  9. Sound Like a Local
  10. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

1. Useful Pronouns

You’re already familiar with the essential pronouns that accompany or replace nouns. That’s great! Now, let’s go a step further. Here are some more of these handy words to add to your Portuguese arsenal. 

1 – Tonic Pronouns

At an intermediate Portuguese level, you can use tonic pronouns. These pronouns act as a complement to terms, and they need to be preceded by a preposition. The most common prepositions used in these cases are:

  • Por (“For”)
  • Para (“For” / “To”)
  • Até (“Until” / “Up to”)

If you want to, you can jump to the third section of this article to learn more about intermediate-level Portuguese prepositions. 

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.mimme
2nd person sg.tiyou
3rd person sg.ele / elahe / she
1st person pl.nóswe
2nd person pl.vósyou (plural)
3rd person pl.eles / elasthey (masculine / feminine)

Examples: 

  • Ela esperou por ti. (“She waited for you.”)
  • Eu vou enviar um e-mail para a professora. (“I will send an email to the [female] teacher.”)
  • Nós fomos até ele. (“We went to him.”)
  • Vocês guardaram bolo para mim? (“Did you [plural] save cake for me?”)

When the preposition is com (“with”), the pronouns change a bit:

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.comigowith me
2nd person sg.contigowith you
3rd person sg.com ele / com elawith him / with her
1st person pl.conoscowith us
2nd person pl.convoscowith you (plural)
3rd person pl.com eles / com elaswith them (masculine / feminine)

Examples:

  • Vem dançar comigo! (“Come dance with me!”)
  • Eles não quiseram vir conosco. (“They didn’t want to come with us.”)
  • Nós vamos viajar com eles. (“We will travel with them.”)
  • Quero assistir um filme com você. (“I want to watch a movie with you.”)

Note: Você is an informal Portuguese pronoun and refers to the 2nd person singular, meaning it can be used instead of tu. However, você is a special case and agrees with the 3rd person singular in terms of verb conjugation.

2 – Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are used to identify the owner of a noun. 

Remember that these pronouns should agree with the noun in gender and number. In the table below, they’ll appear in the following order: singular masculine, plural masculine, singular feminine, plural feminine.

PersonPortuguese pronounEnglish
1st person sg.meu, meus, minha, minhasmy
2nd person sg.teu, teus, tua, tuasyour
3rd person sg.seu, seus, sua, suashis / her
1st person pl.nosso, nossos, nossa, nossasour
2nd person pl.vosso, vossos, vossa, vossasyour (plural)
3rd person pl.seu, seus, sua, suastheir

It’s common in Brazil to use the 3rd person singular pronoun with você (“you”).

Examples:

  • Meus livros são novos. (“My books are new.”)
  • Os seus vestidos são lindos. (“Her dresses are beautiful.”)
  • A sua apresentação foi um sucesso! (“Your presentation was a success!”)

/! Brazilians also use the contraction of the preposition and the 3rd person personal pronouns to indicate the owner of a noun.
  • De + ele = dele (“his”)
  • De + eles = deles (“theirs,” masculine)
  • De + ela = dela (“her”)
  • De + elas = delas (“theirs,” feminine)
Example: Os vestidos dela são lindos. (“Her dresses are beautiful.”)

2. Connect the Dots: Conjunctions

As a beginner, you studied the most important simple conjunctions and learned that they are invariable words that connect clauses. 

As an intermediate Portuguese speaker, you can also use conjunctive phrases, which are two or more words that behave as a conjunction.

Não só…mas tambémNot only…but also
Ou…ouEither…or
Nem…nemNeither…nor
Quer…querWhether…or
Quanto mais…maisThe more…the more
Desde queAs long as
A não ser queUnless
Mesmo queEven if / Although
Já queSince
Uma vez queOnce / Since


A Man Falling Asleep while Working at His Computer

Uma vez que eu termine, eu vou dormir. (“Once I finish, I’ll sleep.”)

3. Fill in the Blanks: Prepositions

In order to create more complex sentences, you should also know how to use prepositions. Just like conjunctions, prepositions are invariable words with a connective function. But they go a step beyond, also explaining or completing the meaning of the terms being connected. Becoming familiar with how to use these words is a great way to improve your Portuguese and begin sounding more like a native speaker. 

1 – Essential Prepositions

ATo / On
ApósAfter
AtéUntil / To
ComWith
ContraAgainst
DeFrom / Of
DesdeFrom / Since
EmIn / On / At
EntreBetween
ParaFor / To
PorFor
SemWithout
SobUnder
SobreAbout / On
TrásBehind

2 – Prepositional Phrases

Prepositional phrases are two or more words that, together, act as a preposition. The following are just some of the most common Portuguese prepositional phrases.

Apesar deDespite
De acordo comAccording to
Por causa deBecause of
Por baixo deBelow
Embaixo deUnder / Underneath
Além deBesides / Beyond
Antes deBefore
Em cima deOn top of
Ao lado deNext to / Beside
Em frente aIn front of
Em vez deInstead of
Perto deNear / Close to
Por trás deBehind
Depois deAfter
Antes deBefore / Ahead of

A Little Boy Holding His Dog

O cachorro está perto do menino. (“The dog is close to the boy.”)

4. Making Sense of Numbers

Now that you’re ready to engage in more complex conversations—and even go shopping—in Portuguese, knowing how to deal with bigger numbers is a must! 

Thankfully, numbers in Portuguese follow a standard structure with very few surprises. 

1 – From 11 to 20

11Onze
12Doze
13Treze
14Quatorze
15Quinze
16Dezesseis
17Dezessete
18Dezoito
19Dezenove
20Vinte

If you want to hear how these numbers sound, watch this lesson on PortuguesePod101.com.

2 – Tens

21Vinte e um
22Vinte e dois
23Vinte e três
24Vinte e quatro
25Vinte e cinco
26Vinte e seis
27Vinte e sete
28Vinte e oito
29Vinte e nove

This structure will repeat for the other numbers, up to a hundred.

30Trinta
40Quarenta
50Cinquenta
60Sessenta
70Setenta
80Oitenta
90Noventa
100Cem

3 – Hundreds

100Cem
101Cento e um 
102Cento e dois
103Cento e três
200Duzentos
300Trezentos
400Quatrocentos
500Quinhentos
600Seiscentos
700Setecentos
800Oitocentos
900Novecentos

4 – A Thousand and Over

1,000Mil
2,000Dois mil
10,000Dez mil
100,000Cem mil
110,000Cento e dez mil
1,000,000Um milhão
1,000,000,000Um bilhão
1,000,000,000,000Um trilhão

It’s easy to continue from this point, simply combining the numbers you already know.

Examples:

  • 152 – Cento e cinquenta e dois
  • 3,587 – Três mil quinhentos e oitenta e sete
  • 102,999 – Cento e dois mil novecentos e noventa e nove
  • 2,851,100 Dois milhões oitocentos e cinquenta e um mil e cem

5. Call it by its Name: Nouns

As an intermediate Portuguese learner, it’s normal to feel limited by your vocabulary. But don’t despair! As you advance in your language learning journey, add these nouns to your portfolio of words to strengthen your speaking and reading abilities. 

Since Portuguese nouns have grammatical gender, the following list includes the corresponding indefinite articles. 

1 – Places

Uma lagoaLagoon
Uma cachoeiraWaterfall
Um rioRiver
Uma ilhaIsland
Uma paisagemLandscape 
Scenery
Um espaçoSpace 
Gap
Uma esquinaCorner
Um estadoState
Um continenteContinent

2 – Time

Um amanhecerDawn
Um entardecerEvening 
Sunset
Um anoitecerDusk 
Nightfall
Um séculoCentury
Um trimestreQuarter 
Trimester
Um semestreSemester

3 – People

Uma pessoaPerson
Uma multidãoCrowd
GentePeople
Um bebêBaby
Uma criançaChild
Kid
Um adolescenteTeenager
Um moço, uma moçaYoung man 
Young woman
Um senhor, uma senhoraOld man
Old woman
SobrenomeLast name
Surname
ApelidoNickname

4 – House and Household Items

Um jardimGarden
Um quintalBackyard
Uma varandaBalcony
Um sótãoAttic
Um porãoBasement
Um terraçoTerrace 
Gazebo
Um microondasMicrowave oven
Um fogãoStove 
Cooker
Um fornoOven
Uma geladeiraFridge
Um refrigeradorCooler
Uma lavadora de roupa 
Uma máquina de lavar roupa
Washing machine
Uma piaSink
Um chuveiroShower
Uma banheiraBathtub

5 – Meals and Food

Uma refeiçãoMeal
Uma sobremesaDessert
Um acompanhamentoSide dish
Um vegetalVegetable
Um garfoFork
Uma facaKnife
Uma colherSpoon
Um porcoPork
Um bifeBeef
Um frangoChicken
Um peixeFish
Uma sojaSoy

6 – Body

Uma cinturaWaist
Um tornozeloAnkle
Um calcanharHeel
Um joelhoKnee
Um cotoveloElbow
Um ombroShoulder
Um pulsoWrist
Uma sobrancelhaEyebrow
Um denteTooth

7 – Business and Bureaucracy

Um formulárioForm
Uma taxaFee 
Rate
Um impostoTax
Uma inscriçãoSubscription
Um comprovanteReceipt
Um documentoDocument
Uns dadosData
Um sistemaSystem
Uma certidãoCertificate
Uma licençaLicense
Um clienteClient
Um pagamentoPayment
Uma senhaPassword
Um cartãoCard
Um chequeCheck
Um trocoChange
Uma carteiraWallet
Um pagamentoPayment

8 – Units

Um quilogramaKilogram
Um gramaGram
Uma toneladaTon
Um litroLiter
Um metroMeter

9 – Miscellaneous

Uma fotoPhoto
Um vídeoVideo
Uma câmera
Uma câmera fotográfica
Photo camera
Um filmeMovie
Uma sérieTV show
Uma históriaStory
Uma cançãoSong
Uma lendaLegend
Uma novidadeNews 
Novelty
Uma notíciaNews
Um bilheteNote 
Ticket
Um recadoMessage 
Errand
Um presenteGift
Uma surpresaSurprise
Uma verdadeTruth
Uma mentiraLie
Uma vontadeWill 
Desire
Um desejoDesire
Uma necessidadeNeed
Um sonhoDream
Um pedidoRequest 
Demand

A Group of Friends in a Photo

Uma foto dos amigos (“A photo of the friends”)

6. Make it Happen: Verbs

After mastering the most important auxiliary verbs in Portuguese (in particular, ser, estar, and ir), it’s time to expand your vocabulary with more verbs. They’ll definitely help you understand a greater variety of stories and conversations in Portuguese!


TerminarTo finish
DespistarTo mislead
To sidetrack
AparecerTo appear
To show up
ParecerTo seem
To look like
DisporTo dispose
To afford
EncontrarTo find
AjudarTo help
ReceberTo receive
TaparTo close
To plug
TamparTo cover
LançarTo throw
To launch
NadarTo swim
AfogarTo drown
NavegarTo navigate
To browse
DançarTo dance
AtrairTo attract
NamorarTo date
To flirt
CasarTo marry
TrairTo betray
MudarTo change
To move
TrocarTo exchange
To swap
To change
ViajarTo travel
PassearTo wander
To walk
CorrerTo run
PularTo jump
VoarTo fly
EscalarTo climb
To scale
SubirTo rise
To climb
DescerTo go down
To descend
AbaixarTo lower
LevantarTo rise
To lift
SentarTo sit
TropeçarTo stumble
PreferirTo prefer
To choose
PerceberTo perceive
To realize
ExplicarTo explain
ResponderTo answer
To reply
DeixarTo leave
To allow
UsarTo use
To put on
ArrumarTo arrange
To straighten
LimparTo clean
OrganizarTo organize
BagunçarTo mess up
CozinharTo cook
PrepararTo prepare
To make
CongelarTo freeze
DescongelarTo defrost
To unfreeze
TemperarTo season
QueimarTo burn
AssarTo bake
To roast
LavarTo wash
EntregarTo deliver
To give
DesmaiarTo faint
To pass out
RefazerTo remake
To redo
FacilitarTo facilitate
To ease
ComplicarTo complicate
AceitarTo accept
NegarTo deny
To negate
AtenderTo meet
To serve
To answer
DemorarTo delay
To linger
ReunirTo get together
To gather
To collect
AtrasarTo delay
AdiantarTo anticipate
To advance
DepositarTo deposit
To place
AgirTo act
To behave
ManusearTo handle
ConsertarTo fix
To repair
To mend
QuebrarTo break
To crack
ResolverTo resolve
SolucionarTo solve
To figure out
PesquisarTo search
To research
AssinarTo sign
EmprestarTo lend
To loan
MelhorarTo improve
PiorarTo worsen
PerdoarTo forgive
To pardon

The following verbs are reflexive.

Desculpar-se / Se desculparTo apologize
Queixar-se / Se queixarTo complain
Machucar-se / Se machucarTo get hurt
Maquiar-se / Se maquiarTo put makeup on
Pentear-se / Se pentearTo comb

Several Ballet Dancers Performing

Quem me dera saber dançar balé. (“I wish I knew how to dance ballet.”)

7. Qualifiers: Adjectives

Add details and make your sentences richer by using adjectives. 

As you probably remember, Portuguese adjectives need to agree with the noun in both gender and number. In the list below (where applicable), we have listed the singular masculine form first, followed by the singular feminine form.

AgradávelNice 
Pleasant
Divertido
Divertida
Fun
Estranho
Estranha
Weird
Educado
Educada
Educated / Polite
Fofo
Fofa
Cute
GentilKind / Nice
Maravilhoso
Maravilhosa
Wonderful
PacientePatient
Simpático
Simpática
Friendly / Likeable / Pleasant
ResponsávelResponsible / Accountable
Vaidoso
Vaidosa
Vain
Sujo
Suja
Dirty
Limpo
Limpa
Clean
Organizado
Organizada
Organized
Arrumado
Arrumada
Tidy
Bagunçado
Bagunçada
Messy
ConfortávelComfortable
Vazio
Vazia
Empty
Cheio
Cheia
Full
Lotado
Lotada
Crowded
Áspero
Áspera
Rough
Duro
Dura
Hard / Tough
Macio
Macia
Soft / Tender
Liso
Lisa
Smooth / Flat
MoleSoft / Limp
Roxo
Roxa
Purple
LilásLight purple
LaranjaOrange
RosaPink
MarromBrown
CinzaGray
Azedo
Azeda
Sour
Amargo
Amarga
Bitter
Queimado
Queimada
Burnt
Assado
Assada
Roasted / Baked
Frito
Frita
Fried
Cozido
Cozida
Cooked / Boiled
CruRaw
Maduro
Madura
Ripe
Ator
Atriz
Actor 
Actress
Cantor
Cantora
Singer
Dançarino
Dançarina
Dancer
Enfermeiro
Enfermeira
Nurse
BabáBabysitter

8. Modify Verbs: Adverbs

There are countless Portuguese adverbs you can use to modify verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. Since you’ve already mastered the most commonly used adverbs, you can now introduce more complex ones to your sentences. 


1 – Manner

AssimThis way 
Thus
FelizmenteFortunately
InfelizmenteUnfortunately
RapidamenteQuickly
CalmamenteCalmly
IgualmenteEqually
DepressaQuickly
DevagarSlowly
À toaIdly
Às pressasIn a rush
À vontadeAt ease

2 – Time

AgoraNow
AindaStill
À tardeIn the afternoon
À noiteIn the evening
De manhãIn the morning
De repenteSuddenly
ImediatamenteImmediately

3 – Place

AliThere
AcimaAbove
AbaixoBelow
AtrásBehind
À direitaOn the right
À esquerdaOn the left
Em voltaAround

4 – Intensity

BastanteQuite
Enough
DemaisToo much
TãoSo
As
TantoSo much
QuaseAlmost

An Express Train Moving Quickly

O trem se move rapidamente. (“The train moves quickly.”)

9. Sound Like a Local

Now that you’re at an intermediate Portuguese level, it’s a good idea to also learn some local slang terms. Keep in mind that these are all informal words and expressions to be used with friends and close family. Avoid them in job interviews and other formal situations.

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at common Brazilian interjections you can use in daily life. After all, you’re bound to bite your lip or be surprised at some point…and when that happens, there’s nothing better than to express your feelings the Brazilian way! 

1 – Commonly Used Slang Terms

CaraManoMeuVelhoDudeBroMate
Depending on the region of Brazil, different words are used to refer to friends. For example, cara is more common in Rio de Janeiro, while mano can be heard in São Paulo.

Sem graçaBoringPlain

Cara de pauTo have the nerve toBrazen-faced
Ele teve a cara de pau de mentir para mim. (“He had the nerve to lie to me.”)
Ela é uma cara de pau! (“She has nerve!”)

ShowCool

ValeuThanks

GringoForeigner
This one is used to refer to foreigners, especially English speakers or Europeans. Don’t worry—in Portuguese, gringo isn’t pejorative!

GranaMoneyCash

TipoLike
It literally translates to “type,” but it’s used just as “like” in English. It’s the most commonly used Brazilian filler word.

2 – Interjections

Poxa!Gosh! 
Oh no!
Puxa!Gee!
Meu Deus!My God!
Oba!Uhul! 
Yay!
Cuidado!Watch out!
Ei!Hey!
Bravo!Congratulations! 
Well done!
Ai!Ouch!
Droga!Damn!
Nossa! 
Minha nossa!
Oh my!
Eita!Used to express surprise
Uau!Wow!
Ufa!Used to express relief
Credo!Good grief! 
Heavens! 
Good heavens!
Vamos!Let’s go!
Força!Stay strong!
Chega!Enough!
Socorro!Help!

A Woman Getting Money from Her Wallet

Tô cheia de grana. (“I have a lot of money,” informal, female speaker)

10. Continue Learning with PortuguesePod101!

This was quite the list, with more than 300 words that intermediate Portuguese learners should master. The different categories we presented are all important for constructing coherent sentences. With these words, you’ll be able to join conversations online and in person, read and hear a variety of Portuguese content, and continue advancing in your language learning journey!

Remember that you can always come back to this guide to refresh your memory and check how your vocabulary and grammar are moving along. On this note, let us know if you enjoyed this article! Do you think it is a good resource for intermediate learners? Did we miss any word category you would have liked to see here? Feel free to drop us a comment with any questions you might have, and we’ll gladly get back to you. 

And now, it’s time to put it all into practice. To start, you can check out our tips for remembering words better. Or, go ahead and browse through our vocabulary lists and other free resources on PortuguesePod101.com. 

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

Happy Portuguese learning!

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