How to Piss Off a Brazilian


Here’s how foreigners can piss off a Brazilian:

1. Presume that Spanish is the national language in Brazil.

It’s true that most countries in South America have Spanish as their official language, but Brazil is different. Brazilians speak Portuguese and are very proud of their uniqueness as non-Spanish speakers.

Very few Brazilians actually learn Spanish as a second language, but many of them can understand a little bit of the language due to the similarities between Portuguese and Spanish.

So, if you don’t speak Portuguese and you don’t find anyone who speaks English, feel free to try to get by in Brazil with your Spanish. But, please, don’t expect people to understand everything you say.

2. Assume that Buenos Aires is the capital of Brazil.

Nope, it’s not Rio de Janeiro either.

3. Suggest that Maradona is the greatest soccer player of all time.

As far as Brazilians are concerned, Pelé is the best soccer player ever. No room for debate here! LOL

4. Mix up Brazil and Argentina in any way.

Rush Limbaugh, an American political commentator, once said that Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina who had an affair with an Argentinean woman, “went down to Argentina to see the girl from Ipanema.” Maybe he just wanted the sentence to sound pretty, but don’t try doing that in front of a Brazilian audience.

As explained by Pablo Alabarces, a sociologist from Buenos Aires, “Brazilians love to hate the Argentineans, while the Argentineans hate to love Brazilians.” It’s a complicated relationship; don’t get the parties mixed up.

5. Ask Brazilians if they see wildlife on a daily basis.

Brazilians don’t see monkeys and snakes on the streets. Most Brazilians have never been to the Amazon rainforest either.

6. Assume that Brazilians and the Portuguese are the same people.

Although many Brazilians are of Portuguese descent, the Brazilian population is also a mix of African, Native Brazilian, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese and Lebanese descendants, among others.

7. Ask a Brazilian girl if she gets Brazilian waxes.

No explanation needed.

8. Presume that the infrastructure in Brazil is precarious because Brazilians don’t pay enough taxes.

I’ve heard this one too many times to ignore it. Just to set the record straight, Brazil has one of the highest tax rates in the world. The problem is clearly not lack of money.

9. Suggest that Brazilians are racist.

The myth of racial democracy is alive and well in Brazil. Brazilians simply don’t like to talk about racism.

10. Say anything remotely bad about Brazil.

Brazilians have the right to criticize themselves and their country pretty harshly, but that right doesn’t extend to foreigners. Brazilians definitely don’t take outside criticism very well.

Do you know any other ways to piss off a Brazilian? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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To read this post in Portuguese, click here.

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909 responses to “How to Piss Off a Brazilian

  1. The amount of times that I have heard: Oh you’re Brazilian, so you speak Spanish! The capital’s Rio de Janeiro isn’t it?!

  2. I have a friend who is Brazilian. Our kids go to the school and we were on one of the courses they were running (speech and language). The tutor showed a video clip of a Greek woman explaining a day out (with no subtitles). The tutor then turned to my friends and said “this shouldn’t be difficult for you” in which he replied “I haven’t got a clue what she said as I’m Brazilian, not Greek” he laughed it off.

  3. Don’t ask if there are white people in Brazil. Yes, I’m white, and I heard it anyways. And the person tried to reply: Ok, White, but not really white, since you’re latin. So I said: My great-grandparents were from Norway. And he said: But you were born in South America. You can’t be really white.

  4. Brazil is a great country with good people. In terms of heritage, perhaps the most unique nation in South America. In terms of natural resources and national identity, it should have a great future before it.

      • It’s a rich country with a great future. The people who I have seen are all vibrant and alive. Solving the problems of a corrupt and autocratic government is another matter entirely. I know that it’s been an on-going problem as long as I can remember. You have a great deal to do and there are no easy answers. You are a unique people. In time, I’m certain that you will find solutions that are uniquely your own.

      • It’s interesting that you said that. In many respects I believe that is true. Ultimately, it is definitely true in a representative governement.

        However an unjust system, once firmly established, can perpetuate itself for a very long time in spite of the people.

        In my own country, as the people become more corrupt, it is reflected in the government. It’s not a question of political affiliation but a matter of moral standards and a willingness to live according to them.

    • Hi Bruce,
      Thanks again for leaving another great comment! :)
      I, too, believe that Brazil is awesome! But, it’s so frustrating to see the same problems year after year, decade after decade, even century after century. You know what I mean? We never seem to deal properly with some issues (corruption, violence, lack of civility).

      • Those are the most difficult issues to deal with because they are human issues. Their sources is within all of us. We all have propensities that can lead us in that direction. At some point, in some way, you’ll find a way to deal with these things. When you do I’m sure that it will be a unique Brazilian solution!

  5. Complement on how fabulous Giselle Bündchen looks and then stare disappointed at the non-Giselle-looking Brazilian in front of you.

    7 was hilarious, by the way.

  6. Hey, I am brazilian and there’s a thing that piss me off: last year, I was at a mall in Orlando speaking with a seller when I told him I was brazilian and he told me I totally look like Giselle Bündchen, but I CLEARLY don’t look like her (and we both knew it), because I am short, pale and not as skinny as model… It piss me off. I hate when people compare ANY brazilian girl with Giselle, we do not look like her (unfortunately haha).

    • Well, we speak Portuguese. Indeed, I’m a translator, and I translate for Brazilian Portuguese (from Spanish and English), and there are few translators for Portuguese from Portugal, because it’s a very small country compared to Brazil, less than 1/10 of the Brazilian population. So yes, we speak Portuguese due Portuguese colonization, and now we are the major group of people that speaks Portuguese in the entire world. Ironic and true.

      • I’m Portuguese and Brazilian people don’t speak the same language I do. It’s just like the American English and the British English… There are some different expressions between them.
        I have a Brazilian neighbour and sometimes she lets her “Brazilian-ness” escape and I can’t understand anything she says… Brazil adopted the basis of our language and made their own language… That’s the main reason we have the Ortographical Treaty, so Brazilians can read our Portuguese and still understand it… And, in my very umble opinion, it’s not the same language if you can’t read what I wrote.

    • What do you mean, Ricardo?
      I believe I speak Portuguese. I understand everything the Portuguese say (verbally or written). The differences are a matter of accents. The language is the same.

      • Indeed, the Portugueses still have some problem to recognize that spoken Portuguese from Brasil is Portuguese and not “Brazilian”. Historically, Portuguese was many times imposed in Brasil and finally by Marquês de Pombal. Brasil got its independance because the Portuguese queen had fleed Lisboa, because Napoleon Bonaparte was about to conquere Portugal. Also, the presence of the French troops made european oral Portuguese evoluate, starting to cut many vogels. In Brasil there are also lots of dialects called “sotaque” and the common dialects is from Sao Paulo. As a French Portuguese, I admit I had to learn to hear brasilian but honnestly it’s not easy for beginners that learn Portuguese to understand european portuguese because we don’t articulate enough. Portuguese is the world’s 6th most spoken language. Um lusofrancês:

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  8. Refactoring…. How to piss off a Romanian

    1) Presume that moldavian is the national language in Republic of Moldova.
    2) Assume Budapest is the capital of Romania.
    3) Suggest that Stoichkov is the “Maradona of the Carpathians”.
    4) Mixup roma and romanians in any way.
    5) Ask romanians if their tap water is drinkable.
    6) Assume that roma and romanian are the same people.
    7) Ask a romanian girl… anything.
    8 ) Presume that infrastructure in Romania does exist.
    9) Suggest that the romanians are racist.
    10) Say anything remotely good about the hungarians.

    • Sorry to say, but there is a myriad of small countries in Europe, that you only know that they are composed from very white people. Because you are small. The post is because Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world, almost the size of the USA, and more than 2/3 of the USA population. So, it’s not about countries that you drive 4-6h and you can cross them from one border to another. Nothing against it. But you look to Americas map, and you can see 3 largest countries: Canada, USA and Brazil. And all you can suppose about it is we speak Spanish??? Like, how hard was your HIstory high school classes? Where you were when your teacher explained about the Great Discoveries in XV and XVI centuries? That’s the point. I got used already, and I start to laugh everytime, but it’s almost impossible not feel like, where did you got your GED?

  9. As much as most of the points are specifically related to Brazil, others are worldwide. For example in my country Ghana (West Africa) we the people can say all the bad and offensive things about our country but as a foreigner don’t even try it or assume it or we will descend heavily on you. this is a very light read and I enjoyed it.

  10. I guess I gotta do a Nigerian version of this. Someone came to lagos and was asking to see the elephants, the zebras bla bla bla. I guess we have to just read a little more beyond what media presents to know a people. Never been to brazil but I’ll hardly make any of those mistakes cos I read wide and deep.

  11. Flash news: brazilians w/ white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes do exist!!! As you said, brazilians descent from different populations, which means we have a lot of different genetic traits. Get over it! It’s ok to be surprised if you don’t know but it’s more than rude not to believe! I’ve never experienced this in the US or anywhere in America but I have really uncomfortable examples that took place in european countries. It definately pisses me off!

  12. Brazilian women are taught to lead with sex and Brazilian men are the laziest and least family oriented men in existence. The men are basically made babies as they arent requiered to do anything for themselves. Brazilian women commonly trick foreign men and even the poorest US person is treated like they are a rich God. Commonly Brazilian women will con a man into living with them for ahile. They act like its all on the up and up and even offer to split the rent. The con is that Brazilian law has alimony for people who live together just like for an actual divorce.

  13. Great post, I have a few Brazilian friends! A lot of these (similar context) can be said about a lot of other countries, too.. I have actually heard a Chinese person ask an Australian crew if they see kangaroos daily…

    • Hi Jessy,
      Thanks for commenting! :)
      That’s true, I’m sure some of the items can be applied to other nationalities as well!
      Instead of Kangaroos, people ask us if we see monkeys daily LOL.

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