São Paulo, affectionately known as “Sampa” by locals, turns 463 years old today. To mark the date, we’ve brought you a guide to the urban jungle’s best slang expressions.
[ɛ nˈɔiʃ] “É Nois”
“É nois” is an extremely grammatically incorrect way of saying “it’s us,” roughly translating as “I got you”. People from São Paulo use it to express their solidarity or agreement with one another, as well as to say “you’re welcome”.
[dˈa ɔ.ɾə] “Da hora”
“Da hora” means “of the hour”. São Paulo locals use it in the same way as you’d say “cool” or “awesome”.
[tˈa mjˈa.dʊ] “Tá miado”
“Tá miado” comes from the verb “miar”, meaning “to meow”. When people from São Paulo say something “is meowed”, they essentially mean it sucks. For example, a party that’s “meowed” is one where nobody showed up.
“Moió” comes from the verb “molhar” or “to get wet”. São Paulo youth use it in situations where they’re essentially, well, f**ked.
A “rolê” in São Paulo is a party, an adventure, a journey. If something’s really far, or super tiring, people say it’s “mó rolê”. It comes from the verb “to roll”, or “rolar”, which is another São Paulo slang expression used to say something is going on or happening at the moment.
“Zuado” is when something is ugly, rotten, or generally in a bad state. For example, if you ate something nasty, your stomach is definitely “zuado”. The verb “zuar” is another a useful slang word, which means to make fun of.
São Paulo slang from the peripheries for the police, “gambé” comes from the bugs investigative police put on criminals’ phones, referencing the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.
This one comes from the verb “demorar”, or to take a long time. It signifies agreement. For example, say a friend is telling you about a party and you want to go, you say “demorô!” People from São Paulo also shorten it to just “morô”, not to be confusing or anything.
[vi.dˈa lˈo.kə] “Vida Loka”
Translating as “krazy life” (yes, with a “k”), “vida loka” pretty much means “thug life”. São Paulo people might say, “watch out for that guy ’cause he’s ‘vida loka'”, meaning he’s strapped or is a bit off the edge. The expression comes from the classic gangster rap song by São Paulo group Racionais MCs. Check it the music video here.