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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927 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.

      • I replied to this before but I don’t see my comment. Basically, what I had to say is that you are right except to the extent negative traditions and habits form the behaviors. Those are less a reflection on the morality of the people than long-term negative cultural impacts on the society. However, it takes a conscious effort to get past 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:

    • I actually agree with you, I think Brazilian Portugues should have a different name already as the two languages have so many differents (only verbally, in writing it is the same). But Portuguese people say this because they believe our language is ‘inferior’ to the ‘correct portuguese’, which for them is their own and that’s another thing that pisses brazilians off.

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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?

      • Sorry to say but.. are you talking to me? Assuming yes, let’s take it by the numbers..

        Your utterly lack of sense of humor suggests you are probably a young person raised in today’s world of short sightedness and lack of broad culture and/or information.
        For starters, there is no myriad of small countries in Europe. You must be mistaking Europe for Oceania? Just about 50 states, some large (by European standards), some of moderate size… There are about ten which can be qualified as really small; Romania is not one of them. Check Romania on Europe map:… Does it look like one of myriad small countries? Don’t think so… or you need glasses.
        “Because you are small..” Are we comparing d**k sizes here? You are smaller than Antarctica, but the penguins ain’t boasting about it.
        No offense, but your recurring comparison with the US reminds me of a Romanian fable about the small and the big dog, and the later one “quest” for equality amongst beasts (only Romanians will get this :)).

        I tried to draw some parallels between the original text and my own country, but it can only be truly understood by someone with a solid knowledge about Romania, because it projects each item from the original text. So, though it was not meant to be funny for someone like you, you should not come forward to deride a joke that is beyond of capabilities of perception, just because you’re country has, well, enormous areas of unpopulated jungle.
        And trust me, no way you can cross Romania from one border to another in 6 hours. No way, even if we had good roads! :)

        “All I suppose about it..” How in the **** do you know what I suppose or not suppose? All our history classes from the 4th grade onwards were real hard. You know that Europe has some, well, ***ing rich history? And that history includes us too, to a larger or smaller extent. And even if we are not speaking necessarily of events on the territory that is now Romania, it’s all connected, starting from Antiquity until modern days (feel free to google Antiquity, you don’t have that in your history… :)).
        And we also studied America’s history too, both above and below the Equator, just because we like to have a global overview..
        Where was I when the teacher explained the Great Discoveries? In a bench from my 7th grade class, in the middle of the nineties, most likely bored to hell, because I knew all of it by reading it by myself, much, much early on.. And I knew in my 4th grade, somewhere after the end of the eighties/beginning of the nineties, that all countries in South America spoke Spanish except for Brazil where Portuguese is spoken.
        Romanians kind of learn about this things, because Spanish and Portuguese are Latin/Romance languages, and, flash news for you, SO IS Romanian! (together with Italian and French). Betcha you dind’t have a clue about that, but we kinda’ learn about these things… ;)
        About my GED.. If you are not older than in you twenties, I sincerely doubt you would have passed the exams I passed in Romania in my time. School was a bitch here in the nineties!

      • And, by the way, despite of your “size”, there are only three of significance who came from there: Pele, Ayrton Senna, and Ivan Lins. Have a nice day! ;)

      • I “wont”.. ;) For the gypsies, check my original post. As for the “vampires”.. that is just British literature. :)

  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.

    • Well, maybe you were stupid enough to fall for that, but that doesnt mean that all brazilian women does that.. you’re talking about 200 million people. Your stupid miserable life and it’s experiences doesn’t apply for all.

    • Omg sorry you had an awful experience but dude chill. This was a bad experience one in a million, just cus you met someone that this to you and she was brazilian definitly does not mean all brazilians are like this. It’s mean and degrading and just stupid really to hate a country because of one person.

  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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    • First of all, many Brazilians speak English. It’s usually our second language of choice. And second of all, if this was your experience in Brazil, you’ve had some bad, bad luck… not all of us are like that, ok?

      • I lived in Brasil a year and never had my electricity go out, it was not hot all the time, the fresh food is wonderful, and once people got to know us they were very nice. I loved my year there and hope to go back some day. It is never good to make statements about a whole group of people based on one or two incidents. Estou com saudades de brasil!

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  16. Well.. That is all true loll.. Now some more. Brazillians are all gangsters, dirty, some look at us like low class dogs with no capacity of being more then a dog, some fathers would feel like letting theirs daughrers date a brazillian is the same as beinc the worst father on earth… And so on… Now bad things about Brazil I can tell loads. But again I’m a brazillian and have the right to do so loollll

  17. On one hand, it is very sad there are so many ignorant people in the world. I question the global educational system, and culturally taught arrogance. …….
    One the other-hand, they make me feel brilliant for understanding people, countries, languages, cultures, nationality, and heritage can almost NEVER be summarized by one-word. ….
    I am currently dating a Brasilian Lady (not just a female – a LADY). A drop-dead gorgeous woman, with Einstein’s brain, and as sweet as my Avo / Abuela!! .. Fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, English & French! ….. No offense intended, but Giselle WHO? (please don’t tell me who Giselle is. I know. If you didn’t get it, you probably won’t. And I’m not going to be the one to explain it to you.)

    The first time Querida kissed me was after she made a comment ….. “and Americans do this” …. To which I replied …..
    “Americans? …… Which ones? …….
    North Americans? – Like Canadians, Mexicans, or Estado Unidos Gringos*? ……..
    Central Americans? – Like Guatemalans, Salvadorians**, Costa Ricans***, Panamanians? …….
    Or South Americans? – Like Brasilians, Peruvians, Chileans, Venezuelans, Columbians?****


    Moral to the story ….. You don’t have to know everything about everything … Just don’t be an IDIOT!

    *: Save the comments – German, Scottish, Cherokee – 5th generation USA born. I think “Saltine©” is somewhere on my birth certificate.
    **: El Salvador and San Salvador are not different countries. ….. One is a city. Look it up!
    ***: Costa Rica has nothing to do with the Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico. +/- 1300 miles apart, look it up. Or just go call a Tica, Puerto Rican!!! ….. you’re probably going to need some ice for that.
    ****: LOL on the above comments – I actually knew not to in include Argentines!

    P.S. – If the above was VERY informative to you, please note, it is not all inclusive, and only covers one hemisphere. …… The other side is much more complicated. ….. If you can’t grasp this, you should probably just date within your family; like your mother-aunt wants you to do anyway.
    Nosotros nos encargamos de las Latinas, amigo! (They even think our bad grammar is cute!)

    • Lol, I’m from Costa Rica and people always say ‘Oh the US territory’. When I say no they they look confused for a moment then say, ‘but it’s an island right? ‘. EVERY SINGLE TIME. I know we’re a small country, but come on!

  18. Watch our channel to kind out more about Real Brazil. ^___^

    Find out “Ziriguidum Channel” on YouTube.

    We made a video talking about the myths about Brazil, check it out!

  19. Now if you’re Brazilian and want to piss off an American, just say “Ah, você é americano hem? Então, come muito hamburger, né?” or, “Você é americano? Muito rico, hem? Tem dóllar para eu ver?” or “Fala inglês aí!…. Entendi nada.” or even “Conhece o Obama?” Haha! Hated it when I was there but now I kind of miss it. Que saudade!

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