Common Portuguese words: facts and figures

The Portuguese language is one of the most exotic languages in the world and its beauty lies in its words.

The Portuguese language is estimated to be made out of a total of 250000 words with the largest Portuguese dictionary having over 171000 words. This can seem a really big and frightening number to someone wanting to start learning Portuguese, but here's the good news: you only need to know roughly 5% of the total words to be fluent in Portuguese. This means that focusing your efforts on learning the most common Portuguese words you will be fluent in Portuguese in no time.

What’s even more encouraging is that knowing as little as 100 words helps you understand half of the words in an article or book written in Portuguese. Learn the most common 1000 words and you get to a 75% understanding of texts in Portuguese. Also, each new word you learn helps you guess the meaning of up to 85 words you have never seen before. This means that knowing only 1000 words helps you guess up to 85000 Portuguese words. Doesn't seem that frightening now, right?

Top 10 cool and common Portuguese words pronounced by native Portuguese speakers

1. Olá. = Hello.

Let's naturally start with "Olá" which means "Hello" in Portuguese. This is one of the most known words in Portuguese and a great way to start a conversation with someone from Brazil. Click play below to listen to the actual pronunciation:

Olá.

2. Amor = Love

Love is a universal feeling and we definitely had to talk about it here. Portuguese people have a lovely way of saying they love someone or something through the word "amor". Hear it in action here:

Amor

3. Felicidade = Happiness

When there's love, there's definitely happiness. We are all chasing "felicidade" as Portuguese speaking people would say. Listen closely and you might just get some “happiness” in your life today:

Felicidade

4. Gato = Cat

Let's talk pets. There are two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. We are going to talk about cats first or how people in Portugal would say: "gato". Listen to how it sounds like:

Gato

5. Cão = Dog

But let's not forget our lovely and loyal companions, dogs. A dog in Portuguese is "cão", a really useful word for dog lovers worldwide. Here is how you would pronounce it:

Cão

6. Sorrir = Smile

Now it is time to smile or how someone from Brazil would say "sorrir". Smiling makes us happy and helps us stay healthy, so that's why we all need to smile everyday. Here's the Portuguese pronunciation:

Sorrir

7. Brasileiro = Brazilian

Next, let’s see how people in Portugal say “Portuguese”. The correct answer is "português". Listen to how a Portuguese speaker would pronounce it:

Brasileiro

8. Sim. = Yes.

Yes, we have arrived at number 8 where “yes” is the subject to be discussed. Portuguese speakers say “yes” by simply saying "sim". Enhance your understanding by listening to how a person from Brazil would pronounce it:

Sim.

9. Obrigado. = Thank you.

Thank you for reading this far or should I say "Obrigado" as they say in Portuguese. Here's a native speaker thanking you in Portuguese:

Obrigado.

10. Adeus. = Good-bye.

No polite conversation can end without a good old goodbye or "Adeus!" how Portuguese people usually say. Now it's time for a delightful Portuguese voice to say "Goodbye" to you:

Adeus.

Improve your Portuguese vocabulary online

Online language courses nowadays are fun, effective, affordable and use the latest technology to teach you a new language. This makes them a great solution to build your vocabulary. Meet Mondly, one of Apple’s best new apps of 2016 helping millions of people around the world learn a language. Our expert linguists have selected the most common Portuguese words so you start by learning what’s really important. No more learning random words you will probably never use in real life.

Each Mondly lesson revolves around a certain theme or situation: from family to colors to animals or shopping related lessons. You quickly get immersed in different situations like ordering food in a restaurant, booking a hotel room or having a casual talk with a native speaker you’ve just met. Organizing the lessons into themes makes learning Portuguese words a lot easier by creating powerful associations in your brain.

Portuguese words spoken by native speakers

It’s been proven that you learn any language faster when you hear natives speak. That’s why our linguists have made listening to natives an essential part of the learning experience. All phrases within the app are recorded by professional Portuguese speakers so you can sit back and absorb the correct pronunciation of the most common Portuguese words effortlessly.

Now, let’s explore the ultimate goal of learning Portuguese: having real conversations. That’s exactly why we’ve made speaking exercises an essential part of our lessons so you can practice the cool Portuguese words you just learned. You have to try our Voice Chatbot, a computer program so advanced you can actually have an intelligent conversation with. Just engage in a conversation and you get asked questions, you respond and the Chatbot understands what you're saying and continues the chat. It’s a remarkable technology that made millions of people fall in love with Mondly.

Image showing the Portuguese words you can learn with Mondly

Did you know?

Surprisingly, there are 3 letters you might be familiar with that were not included in the Portuguese language until recently. Only in 2009 did the letters k, y and w make their way to the Portuguese alphabet. Why? Because there were no Portuguese words formed using those letters until the introduction of a series of words of English origin in the Portuguese dictionary like “play” or “ranking”.

But how long is the longest Portuguese word? Let’s agreed to disregard the uncommon medical word “pneumoultramicroscopicossilicovulcanoconioticozinhos” that has an outrageous 52 letters. Much like in French, the longest common Portuguese word has 29 letters and refers to something that’s unconstitutional: “anticonstitucionalissimamente”.

The good news is that you don’t have to learn such long words to be fluent in Portuguese. Just stick to the most common words and you’ll have an easier time learning this wonderful language.

The benefits of learning the most common Portuguese words first

Make Portuguese learning fun and easier

Starting with the Portuguese basics means you will begin by learning the easiest words first and gradually increase difficulty. This way you will feel great while learning and see how your language knowledge broadens.

Have basic Portuguese conversations in no time

You'll be able to speak to someone from Rio de Janeiro or Lisbon about regular topics like weather, politics or family. This will make you confident in your Portuguese skills and eager to learn more.

Become fluent in Portuguese faster

By learning the most common Portuguese words first you are learning the smart way. Why learn the most unusual words in Portuguese when you might never use them in real life?

You improve your Portuguese vocabulary

Each new Portuguese word you learn piles up until your vocabulary builds stronger and stronger. Each lesson gets you one step closer to fluency.