Teaching Portuguese expressions is one of my favorite parts of being a teacher. This is because while doing it, I’m sharing a bit more of the Portuguese culture. Also, when you aren’t familiar with an expression and try to translate it in a literal way, you may completely lose the point of the conversation.


In Portuguese, like all languages, there are plenty of pick-up lines. Some of them, especially when literally translated, may sound funny. In Portuguese, “pick-up line” is translated to piropo or frases de engate.


Here are just nine (non-offensive and somewhat funny) pick-up lines not to use! All of them are usually uttered from men to women, so you can easily understand the meaning.


Os teus pais devem ser piratas, és cá um tesouro!


Literal translation: Your parents must be pirates, you are such a treasure!


Figurative translation: You are so beautiful!


Ó joia! Anda aqui ao ourives


Literal translation: Oh jewel! Come here to the goldsmith!


Figurative translation: You are so beautiful!


És boa com’ó milho!


Literal translation: You are good as corn!


Figurative translation: You are very hot!


This pick-up line might sound completely nonsensical when translated into English. However, it’s quite common in Portuguese. Most people don’t know the real origin of this expression, especially because most of us seldom eat corn. You might think that the origin is due to corn being tasty and golden-colored, but it isn’t.


The most logical and factual explanation I found is the following: an ancient Egyptian goddess called Nefertiti, who had an unequaled beauty organized a contest to decide who would be her husband.


The challenge was: eat all the corn on a hill. All the candidates gave up but one! Nefertiti’s father told him: “Se comeres todo este milho poderás casar com a minha filha” (“If you can eat all this corn, you can marry my daughter”), to which the candidate answered “Boa! Como o milho!” (“Great! I’ll eat the corn!”).


És como um helicóptero: gira e voa!


Literal translation: You are like a helicopter, spins and flies!



Figurative translation: You are beautiful and hot!


To clearly understand this example you have to know that in the north of Portugal, the letter v is commonly substituted by the sound b, like in Spanish. So, the word voa (it flies) sounds like boa (good).


The word gira is the conjugation of the verb girar (to spin): ela gira (it spins). Gira also means pretty.


Diz-me como te chamas para te pedir ao Pai Natal


Literal translation: Tell me your name so that I can ask Santa to offer me you on Christmas.


Figurative translation: You are amazing, what’s your name?


This might be an interesting way to ask someone’s name.


Acreditas no amor à primeira vista, ou tenho de cá passar outra vez?


Literal translation: Do you believe in love at first sight, or do I have to pass by you again?


Figurative translation: You are so beautiful.


Hoje fui ao dicionário ver o significado de “bonita” e encontrei o teu nome


Literal translation: Today I looked up the meaning of the word “beautiful” in a dictionary, and I found your name.


Figurative translation: You are beautiful.


Que curvas tu tens, e eu sem travões


Literal translation: You with amazing curves, and me with no breaks.


Figurative translation: You are so beautiful, and I can’t control myself.


O teu pai deve ser terrorista, és cá uma bomba!


Literal translation: Your dad must be a terrorist, you are such a bomb!


Figurative translation: You are so hot!


In Portuguese, the word bomb can also be used to describe attractive women. You can find some other words to describe them below. Some of them are more formal than others:


  • gira
  • gata
  • bela
  • bonita
  • brasa
  • formosa


I hope that you have enjoyed these insights about flirting, Portuguese style! Feel free to use them in any situation. The results are always unexpected.