People are the soul of a country. Knowing some Portuguese greetings will go a long way when connecting with native Portuguese speakers. Like any language, Portuguese has many different ways to greet people and to exchange basic pleasantries. This article will cover the must-know Portuguese words and phrases for greeting people. Let’s dive right in!
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“Olá” is the best choice and go-to option for most social situations regardless of the person you are addressing. Translating to “hello,” It’s somehow formal, but also friendly. Don’t confuse this with the Spanish “hola.” In Portuguese, the stress is on the second syllable.
“Oi!” is a very friendly and informal way to say “hi!” It is more commonly used in Brazil than in Portugal and used to greet friends and close colleagues. Stick to “olá,” however with people you don’t really know.
This one is borrowed from English and is specifically only used on the phone. It can be used when answering the phone or mid-phone-conversation if the line starts breaking and you're having trouble hearing each other.
Though this literally translates to “what’s up” it is used as a substitute for “hello.” This is mainly used in Brazil and amongst the younger generation.
The Portuguese equivalent of the one above is “como é que é?” which literally translates to “how is it?”
“Beleza” also has the same meaning as “e aí,” however it literally translates to “what’s going on with your life?” This is universally informal and usually used to greet close friends.
“Bom dia” literally means “good day," but you'd only use it to say “good morning” in Portuguese. Note that Brazilians pronounce “dia” like “jee-ah” while the Portuguese say “dee-ah.”
Meaning “good afternoon” in Portuguese, it is used between lunchtime and sunset.
The Portuguese language does not differentiate between evening and night. Thus, “good night” and “good evening” have the same translation in Portuguese. Though “boa noite” literally translates to “good night,” it is used as a greeting and not something to say to someone before they go to bed, like in English.
This one is suitable for both formal and informal situations. “Bem” meaning “well” and “bom” meaning “good,” you can use either which makes this greeting translate to “everything well?”
If the one above is a bit too informal, then “tem passado bem?“ is perfect for those formal situations. This one literally translates to “have you been passing well?”
Translating to “how are you?” this Portuguese greeting is usually added immediately after saying hello.
Literally translating to “until later” and “until tomorrow” respectively, these Portuguese phrases are perfect for informal situations or when “goodbye” is a bit too strong for the occasion.
This one is used in many languages. Like in many countries, use the term “tchau” when saying goodbye at the end of a conversation. Note that it may also be written as “xau!”
“Adeus” literally translates to “goodbye,” however, be careful with when and how you use this term. “Adeus” implies that you will never actually see the person again or at least that you don’t have the intention to. Save this expression for sad or sorrowful goodbyes instead.
With Portuguese being a language that touches the four corners of the globe, it’s also important to consider regional variations when learning Portuguese greetings. Check out our article on the difference between European and Brazilian Portuguese to find out more. With that, “até logo!”