Portuguese expressions – Part II

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Portuguese expressions – Part II

A few days ago we showed you some of the more popular idiomatic expressions of Portugal and also their meaning and the history behind them. In this article we are going to carry on with this and show you some more.

“Andar à toa” – Means to be disoriented and lacking direction. “Toa” is the name given to the rope that ties one boat to another. The boat behind is being towed and so does not have control over its course.

“Lágrimas de Crocodilo” (crocodile tears) – This expression is international and it means to cry without emotion – to shed false tears. Crocodiles have tear glands that are stimulated when they eat, so they often cry without apparent reason!

“Onde Judas perdeu as botas” (Literally: Where Judas lost his boots) – In the history of the Christian religion, Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins. After doing this – and being directly responsible for his capture and crucifixion – he became depressed and hung himself from a tree. It so happens that Judas committed suicide without the money and without his boots, in which he had probably hidden the money. So a group of soldiers went looking for them, although we do not know if they were found or not. These days the expression “where Judas lost his boots” means “somewhere inaccessible”.

“Sardinhas em lata” (Sardines in a can) – This is an easy analogy to guess. When sardines are in a can they are very close, almost stuck, together. It is used to illustrate situations where there are many people all jammed together – overcrowded. It is often used when referring to public transport.

“Com a corda toda” (Literally: With the whole rope) – In the past, toys that moved had to be propelled. To do this you had to use rope or string. The rope/string was the mechanism used for them to move. And the more you gave them the more they moved. This is why with the “whole rope” means with “full force”.

19 March 2018


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