ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

15 Extraordinary Brazilian Portuguese Terms Inspired by Soccer

Updated on March 30, 2016

Ever since the British introduced football (soccer), Brazilians have been obsessed with the sport. It is part of the life of practically all their citizens, and the country is affectionately known as “o país do futebol“ (the country of soccer).

The sport has its own creative lexicon, and some expressions became so popular that have been incorporated into the everyday colloquial Brazilian Portuguese vocabulary. So if don’t want dar bola fora* and want to speak Portuguese like a native, take a note of these terms!

Mão furada


"Pierced hand" is the literal translation of this popular expression, but the real meaning is butterfingers. It was first used in soccer when a goalkeeper doesn’t catch the ball. The expression became catchy and adopted in the colloquial Brazilian vocabulary.

Pisar na bola

Drop the ball
Drop the ball

Another very common phrase in Brazil, which shares the same meaning and other similarities with the American phrase “drop the ball”. Both of them come from sports; the Brazilian idiom obviously from soccer. It translates as step on the ball.

(Dar) Bola fora*

You don't want to "dar bola fola" during your stay in Brazil, so remember this one. It means to make foolish tactless remarks, and there are many fun synonyms for this term such as comer bola, dar um fora, pagar mico, etc.

Dar bola

Flirting | Source

In soccer the players have to pass the ball to another player on the team, in order to try to score a goal quickly. If you are passing a ball to a girl, it means you’re flirting with her. This is a good expression to know next time you go to Brazil.

Baixar a bola

Stuck up, pretentious
Stuck up, pretentious

Take notice of this one. If someone tells you “baixa a bola” (lower the ball) it means you are probably being a bit stuck-up and pretentious, and they are telling you to stop being so full of yourself.

(Estar com a) Bola cheia/toda

Winning streak
Winning streak

If a Brazilian tells you: “você está com a bola cheia” be happy! It’s a compliment. He doesn’t mean to say you have a full ball – which is the literal translation - he is actually saying you are on a Winning streak, or that you're doing very well on a task. In soccer this phrase means a very good player.

(Estar com a) Bola murcha

Loosing streak
Loosing streak

This phrase is exactly the opposite of “bola cheia”, and it indicates a gloomy person. In soccer “bola murcha” is a bad player, and the term is not short of synonyms in the game's rich vocabulary.

Acertar na trave

Literal translation: to hit the goal post or to rattle the frame. Brazilians use this expression in a situation when you guessed something almost correctly. You were very close, but… didn’t hit the mark.

Pendurar as chuteiras

To retire
To retire

Another interesting and widely used phrase throughout Brazil, which translates as to “hang up your soccer shoes” but it means to retire.

Tirar o time de campo

To “take the team out of the field” means in Portuguese to give up on something, pull out or drop out depending on context.

Bater um bolão

In soccer this expression is used to refer to a very good player/team, but if you see a pretty woman or a handsome man in the beaches of Rio de Janeiro you can also say: “Ele/ela bate um bolão!“

Vestir a camisa

“To wear the jersey of your team”, is to go above and beyond, do the best for a company you work for, a project you’re working on, or a task you’re committed to.

Bola pra frente

This is a very popular encouraging expression in Brazil, equivalent to “move on” in English. The literal translation is “ball forward”.


To guess
To guess

In Brazil when you are asked to guess something, you can use the verb “to kick” as in kick a soccer ball. Ex: Can you guess where I am from? “Sabe de onde eu sou? Chuta!”

Show de bola


This is a relatively new expression extracted from soccer for an outstanding performance. The term quickly became very popular and is now used for anything that is awesome. Nowadays some Brazilians simple say: “show”.

What is your favorite Brazilian soccer expression?

See results

BRIC Language Blog

Hope you enjoyed my hub :)

Don't forget to check our blog for some very interesting posts about Brazil's culture and language tips!


Submit a Comment
  • lidialbuquerque profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you so much for your comment @chef-de-jour! I am very happy that you found it informative! And you haven't made a bola fora at all!! It was actually a "bola dentro"!! ;)

  • chef-de-jour profile image

    Andrew Spacey 

    5 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for educating me! Again. Some interesting phrases you've highlighted.

    I love the futebol of Brazil, (despite their losing to the Germans in the last world cup - I was in Sao Paulo for that!) and am not surprised they use many football related terms in everyday conversation. And I hope I haven't made a dar bola fola by writing this comment.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)