Small change – big words

a little insight into the Brazilian language*…

As far as I have noticed, any noun in Brazil can be modified by adding a

  • ão – making it a ‘bigger’, or
  • inho / inha (depending on gender) – making it smaller


  • Jogão – an eventful, big game (of, let’s say, football)
  • Favorzão – a big favor
  • Favorzinho – a small favor
  • Chuvinha – fine / little rain
  • The famous cafezinho – a small / quick coffee
  • works also for chazinho – i.e. tea

Sometimes however, the meaning of the words shiftes ever so slightly when marked by such a suffix:

  • Peixão – big fish – also synonym for a woman with curves
  • Peixinho – small fish – also synonym for the boss’ favorite in the office

Beyond the meaning, comes the wish-thinking in the form of problemazinho – a little, a small problem. While grammatically, problemazão exists as well, no Brazilian would ever admit that you are just confronted with a such.

Which leaves us – last but not least – with obrigadão – a big thank you for reading!

* Technically português do Brasil as opposed to português do Portugal. Only that I have absolutely no idea about the latter since I’ve never been there.


One response to “Small change – big words

  1. Pingback: A Copa – a look back | La puce, die Welt and everything else

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