Posted in English, Portuguese


Expressions from the C1 Textbook that are vaguely animal-related.

Tratar abaixo de cão – to treat someone worse than a dog, ie mistreat someone (“o meu pai tratou-me abaixo de cão” )

Quando as galinhas tiveram dentes – when hens have teeth, ie, it’ll never happen (“Ele só vai deixar de fumar quando as galinhas tiveram dentes”)

Pensar na morte de bezerra – to think about the death of the… I don’t even know the correct English word here. Heifer? Something like that. A female calf, anyway. The expression means to be miles away, thinking about something else and not tuned in to what’s going on around you (“a professora perguntou-me alguma coisa mas está a pensar na morte da bezerra”)

Ficar pior do que uma barata – to be worse than a cockroach, meaning to be angry. This doesn’t seem to be a very common expression as far as I can tell. I can only find one example online and even that is phrased slightly differently from the Textbook example (“a mãe está pior que uma barata com o filho”)

Ser feio como um bode – to be as ugly as a goat… About what you’d expect really.

Não é como vinagre que se apanham moscas – you can’t catch flies with vinegar, ie, if you want to win people over you have to give them what they want. The dicionário informal give a slightly depressing sample sentence “Com este seu gênio não vai arrumar namorado, pois não é com vinagre que se apanham moscas.” You won’t get a boyfriend by being a genius, because you can’t catch flies with vinegar. There you go, girls, there’s some good life advice for you.

Estar com a pulga atrás da orelha – To have a flea behind the ear, ie to be paranoid or to lack confidence (“normandos sempre tão rude, hoje deu-me um presente. É caso para ficar com a pulga atrás da orelha

Cair nas garras de alguém – to fall into someone’s claws, ie to be at their mercy (“O chancelor caiu nas garras da indústria alemã”)

Meter-se na boca do lobo – to put oneself in the wolf’s mouth, ie to put oneself in danger (the verb here can be cair as in the previous expression, if the person has got into danger by mistake instead of through heroism or hubris (“Não percebes que estás a meter-te na boca do lobo?”)

Meter o rabo entre as pernas – to put ones tail between ones legs, ie to admit defeat or accept humiliation (“depois de levar uma pancada de Will Smith, Chris Rock meteu o seu rabo entre as pernas”)

Meter a pata na poça – to put the hoof in the puddle, which is equivalent to the English expression “to out your foot in it”, ie, make a mistake (“Chris Rock meteu a pata na poça ao aludir à falta de cabelos da mulher de Will Smith”)


Just a data nerd

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s