June 19, 2009

Expressions of age in Portuguese

My birthday was earlier this month. (Check out these other posts, if you want to know how you would sing happy birthday in Portuguese)... So we will cover a couple expressions for different ages in Portuguese, starting with balzaquiana, em minha homenagem (=as an homage to me):

balzaquiana = woman in her 30s.


Agora, eu sou uma balzaquiana.

This is due to Balzac's "A woman of Thirty". There is no similar term for men, so you can say the following (applicable to men and women):

Ele tem uns vinte/trinta/quarenta e poucos anos.
He is in his early 20s/30s/40s.
(literaly something like: He has some 30 and few years)

Ela tem uns vinte/trinta/quarenta e tantos anos.
She is in her late 20s/30s/40s.
(literaly something like: She has some 20/30/40 and so much years).


  1. If you are of applicable age, make a sentence describing your age, using the expressions above.
  2. Think of a couple of people you know and use the expressions above to describe thier approximate age.

As well as balzaquianas, we also have women in the idade da loba:

a idade da loba - literally "the age of the female wolf" - the age of women in their 40s

This is again due to a book by Regina Lemos (the translation of the title would be "Forty: the age of the wolf" - but all using the feminine gender. Here is some more on that). Again this is for women only.

For both genders, we can use the following expressions for people in their 40s and 50s (very informal):

in his 40s/ in her 40s

in his 50s/ in her 50s

Finally we have:

coroa - a slang meaning old person (sometimes pejorative) - literally "crown"


enxuto/enxuta - a slang meaning someone well preserved for their (old) age.


Ele é um já é um cinquentão, mas está um coroa enxuto.
He is already in his 50s, but he is a well preserved old man.

  1. Think of someone you know or celebreties ranging from early 20s and 50s. Make sentences describing their ages.
  2. Answer if you can: Na sua opinião, quais pessoas famosas são coroas enxutos?
Bom, agora que sou balzaquiana, espero que , pelo menos eu seja uma coroa enxuta!


  1. I love learning new Portuguese slang. I'm currently in between 200 and 203 Portuguese courses. What can I do over the summer to practice and avoid getting rusty?

  2. Oi Elizabeth!

    Thanks for the visit! Slang is really fun (you may like this site: http://www.dicionariodegirias.com.br/). For now, you can do read some of the other posts on this site for some practice :-) (more coming up)... Where are you doing Portuguese (so that I can find out your level) also, let me know if you live in LA or New York and I'll let you know of some places/ events you can go to practice during the Summer.

  3. It's great teacher ! This is great to learn here Portuguese. You are good teacher too. I learned about the age from this post. Next post should be about "how to respect", I hope.


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