Best Quotes in Portuguese

Nothing better than learning popular sayings in a language to understand the culture and the grammar better.
The Portuguese language is full of figurative sentences that at first, may not make any sense to you but play a huge role when speaking the language.
Here I compiled the most used and the best Portuguese quotes to use. Most of these are famous Brazilian sayings, of course, since I’m Brazilian.
I translated every sentence to its literal meaning in English first, and then where it says ‘meaning’ I try to explain what the sentence means, or, in most cases, I mention an equivalent sentence in English. Despite the difference in expression, we do have a lot of sentences that have the same meaning or express the same ideas.
For those of you looking for more Portuguese content, check the list of best words in Portuguese. Or if you want to take one step forward and learn the Portuguese language, don’t forget to check these tips to learn a language faster.

Best Quotes in Portuguese

Quem não pode como quer, queira como pode.

Meaning: Do as you may, if you can’t, do as you could

A pressa é a inimiga da perfeição

Haste is the enemy of perfection

Meaning: Haste makes waste

À noite todo gato é pardo

At night, every cat is brown
Meaning: All cats are grey in the dark

Seja a mudança que você quer ver no mundo.

Meaning: Be the change you want to see in the world.

Cor de burro quando foge

Color of a donkey when it runs away
Meaning: An ugly color

Quem ve cara, não ve coração

Who sees the face, doesn’t see the heart.

Meaning: Beauty is only skin-deep.

Quem não chora não mama

who does not cry does not breast
Meaning: The squeaky wheel gets the grease

Aqui se faz, aqui se paga

Here it is done, here it is paid
Meaning: Bad actions lead to bad karma

Deus ajuda quem cedo madruga

God helps who wakes up early
Meaning: The early bird catches the worm

Para bom entendedor, meia palavra basta

To a good ‘understander,’ half a word is enough
Meaning: Clever people don’t need a full explanation

Para baixo todo santo ajuda

Down, every Saint helps

Meaning: In a calm sea, every man is a pilot.


Quem com ferro fere, com ferro sera ferido

Who hurts with iron, with iron will be hurt
Meaning: Live by the sword, die by the sword

Quem não tem cão, caça com o gato

Who doesn’t have a dog, hunts with a cat
Meaning:There is more than one way to skin a cat

Saco vazio não para em pé

Empty bag won’t stand

Meaning: You have to eat, otherwise you won’t even be able to get up

Onde Judas perdeu as botas

Where Judas lost his boots
Meaning: In the back of beyond

Cada macaco no seu galho

Every monkey on its own branch

Meaning: Each one to his trade

Quem fala o que não deve, escuta o que não quer

Who says what shouldn’t listen to what they don’t want

Meaning: A closed mouth catches no flies

Just like the English phrase, in Portuguese you can also say: Boca fechada não entra mosca, which is the exact translation, of the English ‘meaning’ I just mentioned.

O sujo falando do mal lavado

The dirty talking about badly washed

Meaning: The pot calling the kettle black

Sobre Isadora

Writting and sharing travel experiences

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