Brazilians are a colourful people, in all senses of the word, and their expressions are no different.
Here are a few expressions Brazilians use in conversation, in this case, all referring to animals. Cats and dogs are particularly popular!!
1. Quem não tem cão, caça com gato
IF YOU DON’T HAVE A DOG, USE A CAT TO GO HUNTING
This is an encouragement to find a way to achieve your aims and not give up, or to find a way around any obstacle – something Brazilians are famed for (another expression they use is “sempre tem um jeitinho” – there is always a way)
2. Gato escaldado tem medo de água fria
A CAT THAT HAS BEEN BURNT IS AFRAID OF COLD WATER
A bit like “once bitten, twice shy” – if we have experienced a bad situation, we will be even more cautious of anything similar in the future.
3. Cão que ladra não morde
A DOG THAT BARKS DOESN’T BITE
This one is quite similar to “their bark is worse than their bite”. In other words, a person might be violent, dramatic, full of threats, but they are unlikely to carry any of them out.
4. À noite todos os gatos são pardos
AT NIGHT ALL CATS ARE BROWN
In other words, when there is a crowd you can’t really find out what a person is like
5. Cada macaco no seu galho
EVERY MONKEY TO THEIR OWN BRANCH
In other words, don’t try to sort out your neighbour’s life – look after your own!
6. Macaco velho não pula em galho seco
AN OLD MONKEY DOESN’T JUMP ONTO A DRY BRANCH
In other words, you learn from your mistakes!
7. Um burro carregado de livros não é doutor
A DONKEY CARRYING BOOKS ISN’T A DOCTOR
Someone might look clever, but they might not be, or perhaps slightly differently, people aren’t always what they appear to be.
If you need Portuguese or Spanish translations, you can contact me here.