Posted in English


Interested to see this meme pop up on a Brazilian Monty Python fan account.

What’s so surprising? Well, bravo is a false friend. It doesn’t mean corajoso, it means raivoso: angry in other words. Or rude and uncouth.

I asked around and found out that bravo means either “brave” or “angry” in Brazil. And of course they chose the word in this meme because they were dovetailing it with the English words of the song. It actually can mean brave in Portugal too but its very, very unusual, as you can probably imagine – it must be confusing as hell to have one adjective that can mean two different things and could plausibly mean either of them in a lot of everyday contexts. It’s the eighth meaning given in the dictionary, so it’s worth knowing, but probably best avoided in everyday speech.

Even weirder, there is a regional word, brabo, which means angry and is a synonym (but not a mis-spelling, apparently!) or bravo and means angry (but definitely not brave!) it’s the first I’ve heard of it and only one (brazilian) guy mentioned it, so although it is in Priberam, this seems obscure enough that you can probably ignore it.

Update: a few more replies have come in and reminded me that, of course, bravo can also mean “well done”, just as it does in English.

I mentioned “rude or um uncouth” as possible meanings but maybe I should have gone for something like “rough” or “uncultured” since it can be used in relation to food to mean something like “wild” – espargos bravos =wild asparagus, carne brava= grass fed beef, etc. A sea can be bravo of it is rough and stormy, and there’s a type of apple called Maçã Bravo de Esmolfe. Yes, bravo, not Brava, even though maçã is feminine.


Just a data nerd

One thought on “Bravo

  1. Pingback: Bravo – Luso

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