EP word of the week (#3): chapéu-de-chuva

[o] Chapéu-de-chuva is the European Portuguese word for “umbrella”. It literally means ‘rain hat’, so make sure you don’t use it as such (we call those chapéu impermeável).

Its plural is chapéus-de-chuva (I’ll write an article about general rules on how to pluralize compound words later).


  • [o] guarda-chuva [lit. “rain-guard”]

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EP word of the week (#2): elé[c]trico

As a noun, [o] elétrico (eléctrico before the spelling reform of 1990) means tram/streetcar/trolley, which are usual sights on the streets of Porto and Lisbon, Portugal’s two largest cities.

As an adjective, it means “electric”, linked or associated with electricity. This noun is actually a shortening of [o] carro elé[c]trico, ‘electric car’, an obvious reference to their power source.

Back in the day (late 19th-early 20th century), a public horse-drawn tram (or horsecar) was known as [o] [carro] americano, ‘[the] American [car]’, since the first were built in the United States and became associated with the country.

Related words/useful sentences:

  • [a] paragem de elé[c]trico: Tram stop
  • [Os] carris: rails (sing. [o] carril; “Carris” is also the name of the company in charge of bus and tram public transportation in Lisbon, as you can see in the picture above)
  • [a] Baixa: Downtown (of a city), also “low” (adj. sing. fem.) and “casualty” (fig.)
  • Um Elé[c]trico Chamado Desejo: A Streetcar Named Desire (Tennessee Williams play, 1947)
  • Este elé[c]trico vai para a Baixa? Is this tram headed downtown?
  • Os elé[c]tricos andam/movem-se sobre carris. Trams move on rails.
  • Onde [é que] posso apanhar um elé[c]trico? Where can I catch a tram/streetcar?
  • Queremos um bilhete familiar para o Chiado, por favor/se faz favor. We want/would like a family ticket to Chiado, [if you] please.

EP word of the week (#1): autocarro

Hello and welcome to The EP Experience, my European Portuguese language blog!

Words of the week is our weekly/biweekly segment where I present a word or expression of interest to EP learners; today’s word, our first, is [o] autocarro, which is our word for bus. We also use [a] camioneta, but autocarro is certainly the word you’ll hear the most, and the one you should use in case you need to ask some directions.

In Brazil, the word most commonly used for the same machine is [o] ônibus (from Latin omnibus, “for all”, which is also the origin of English bus).  Like most common Brazilian Portuguese words different from EP, we the Portuguese are generally more acquainted with their words and aware of these differences than most Brazilians; this has to do mainly with Portugal’s big Brazilian community and the broadcast of several Brazilian cultural products on this side of the pond, especially when it comes [as] telenovelas (soap operas). This doesn’t mean you’ll hear a native EP speaker use the word, just that if you insert some BP words in the conversation we will almost certainly understand you instead of making funny faces (:

In Lisbon, the company in charge of buses is called Carris, which is actually the Portuguese word for rails ([os] carris; singular [o] carril). An explanation to this apparent oddity is explained on our second word of the week, [o] elétrico! Check it out too if you want to find out why!



Related words/useful sentences:

  • Paragem de autocarro: bus stop
  • Motorista de autocarro: bus driver
  • Bilhete: ticket
  • Onde [é que] fica a paragem de autocarro? Where is the bus stop?
  • Onde [é que] fica a paragem de autocarro mais próxima? Where is the nearest bus stop?
  • Quanto [é que] custa uma viagem? How much does one trip cost?
  • Quanto [é que] custa o bilhete até/para Belém? How much does the ticket to Belém cost?
  • Dois bilhetes para/até Belém, por favor/se faz favor. Two tickets to Belém, please.
  • Para onde [é que] vai este autocarro? Where is this bus headed to?


Welcome, everyone!

This is my European Portuguese blog, “The EP Experience”. With it I’ll try to share a bit of the Portuguese language and culture with everyone who’s interested in it.

For now, the blog is divided in three large sections, which I’ll try to update regularly:

  1. Grammar Tips. The name is in the title – I will make a review of Portuguese language grammar from a European Portuguese perspective. If you have any suggestions about topics you’d like to see covered, let me know in the comments;
  2. EP Words of the Week. A biweekly rendezvous with Portuguese vocabulary, highlighting interesting words, including words which are different from BP;
  3. Portuguese Culture and Society. Cultural notes about Portugal – books, films, music, politics, news, social quirks; nothing is off limits to make sure you gain a better understanding of Portugal and its people!

Good readings/learnings,