Portugal is a country rich in popular expressions, and “bringing the fire to our sardines” is just one of many. If you are confused and have no idea what we are talking about, we explain everything in the table below.

Remember that most expressions only make sense to the Portuguese, but this way you will get to know the country and the culture a little better and you will not be surprised when you hear them.

Expression Meaning
Bringing the heat to your sardines It means defending one's own interests or one's beliefs.
Flea behind the ear Used when someone is suspicious or worried about something or someone.
They look like sardines in a can Expression used when there are many people in the same space and very close to each other.
From small, the cucumber is twisted It means that it is during childhood that one teaches and educates.
Tie the knot When two people marry or get together.
Regretful Madalena When someone regrets something or when they cry a lot.
Joana's mother's house It refers to a place where everyone can enter, usually where there are a lot of people.
First it's weird, then it's ingrained When initially you don't like something, it's usually food and then you learn to like it.
Rebeubéu sparrows to the nest Used when there is a lot of noise.
Have the beans counted Take something for granted.
To grease When someone praises another too much.
It won't be sweet pear It means it won't be easy.
It's clean wheat Amparo's flour  It means something is very easy.
Deliver by tray It means that something was delivered without resistance, in an easy way.
Not understand "patavina" Not understanding anything about any subject.
Many years turning around chickens It means that someone has a lot of experience doing a certain thing.
Stay in cod waters When something goes on stand-by or doesn't happen.
Crocodile tears Expression used for fake tears.
Be with the oils Being upset, angry, or moody.
Waking up with your feet out Waking up tired or upset.
From the time of Maria Cachucha / In the time of the other lady When something is very old.
Annoying Camões Used when the person no longer wants to be upset or bothered.
Where Judas lost his boots It refers to a distant place, far from reaching.
A double-beaked stick When it's hard to make a decision.
Big and french Expression used when someone lives with ostentation or with abundance and luxury.
It looks like the works of Santa Engrácia When something doesn't happen or is taking a long time to happen.
Break all the dishes Expression used when someone has exceeded our expectations.
"Resvés" Campo de Ourique It means it was a close call.
"Adianta um grosso" It means it's not worth it.
See if it gives you the "badagaio/fanico" It's the same as saying "Come on, don't faint".
Release the chicken Expression used when someone loses shyness or begins to feel more comfortable.
Take the horse out of the rain It means it's better to give up on something or something won't happen.
Be with trunks When the person is upset or frowned upon.
Not even if the cow cought It means that something is not going to happen at all, something impossible.
Swallow frogs It means enduring a setback and not showing displeasure.
Combing monkeys When we want to tell someone to stop bothering us.
Little monkeys on the head/ Little monkeys in the attic Expression used when someone has unfounded concerns or fears.
The cat ate your tongue When someone goes unanswered or speaks little.
 Dizzy cockroach Used when referring to someone who is always fussy or disorganized.
Old donkey doesn't learn languages Usually used with older people and means that learning is not possible after a certain age.
Thinking a donkey died Expression used when someone has been thinking for a long time.
In the shade of the banana tree It means not worrying, not caring about the work at hand.
Have a lot of can Used when someone is too bold to do something.
Tuck your tail between your legs Expression used when someone chickens out or realizes they've made a mistake and doesn't react.
With one leg behind the back When something is easy to do.
Shake the helmet It means dancing, used when someone is having fun.
Go around the big billiards When someone doesn't want to be bothered, send the other around the big billiards.
Be with the "bezana" Used when someone is drunk.

These are some of the most used expressions that characterize the Portuguese so well, but there are many more. If you are thinking of coming to Portugal, you are likely to hear some of these quite often, now you know what they mean!