The meaning of gestures: body language in Brazil

Body language in Brazil

Body language in Brazil

Let’s cover Brazil now as our next country and explore their gestures and body language in Brazil a bit.

Body language in Brazil

  • When conversing, good eye contact is important. To not do so is considered impolite.
  • In a marketplace, if a vendor holds his hand out, fingers extended and flips the thumb back and forth it merely means, ‘There isn’t any left; I don’t have any more.’
  • A good, warm handshake is the traditional greeting in Brazil. However, the Brazilians show affection easily.
  • People in Brazil will also shake hands when arriving and departing. There may also be a touching of the forearm or elbow, and often a pat on the back.
  • If you are conducting business, be certain to bring a plentiful supply of business cards because these are always exchanged. Also, during business meetings expect to be served (often) small cups of very strong coffee.
  • Since this is more of a touching society, people stand close together when conversing or when standing in lines.
  • To add emphasis to a statement, a Brazilian may snap the fingers while whipping the hand down own and out.
  • To express appreciation, a Brazilian may appear to pinch his earlobe between thumb and forefinger. For example, if you’ve enjoyed a meal this gesture may be used. Among Brazilians, to dramatize it even further, they will reach behind the head and grasp the opposite earlobe.
  • You may think they are blowing you a kiss, but when Brazilians bring their hand towards their mouths and kiss the tips of their fingers, then expand the fingers in an outward motion, it merely means that – probably the meal – was delicious.
  • Body language in Brazil figa

    Body language in Brazil “figa”

    When carrying any article along the streets-a pair of shoes, a bottle, a box of candy-it is customary to have it wrapped in a bag or some paper.

  • There are many common friendly gestures in Brazil. One is the thumbs up gesture, which is also popular in America. In Brazil it is meant to mean “good” or “positive.”
  • When two people are close to each other, they will show it by rubbing two index fingers together.
  • Making a hand movement that traces an imaginary horizontal line right above the line of their eyes means that person is fed up or does not have any more patience.
  • Sometimes nonverbal communication can be very different than what is expected in other countries. One example is the “O.K.” symbol one can make with their hands. It is regarded as just meaning “O.K.” in the American culture. In Brazil however, this is seen as a very obscene gesture. It is equivalent to giving the middle finger in America. This is seen as one of the rudest gestures you can make in Brazil and should always be avoided.
  • Another obscene hand gesture is called the “corna” which historically means “your wife is cheating on you.” It is popular in Brazil and is often used when disagreeing with a football referee and it looks just like the “rock on” american gesture.
  • One gesture that is also used is one to say “screw you.” It s consists of making a fist with one hand and slapping it on top of the other hand once or twice. It is used commonly around Brazilian friends but can be rude if used any other time.
  • Same as in Argentina, a close friendship or an incipient relationship is indicated by rubbing the two index fingers together.
  • A very unique body language in Brazil is the “figa”, represented by inserting the thumb between the middle and index finger. This gesture is supposed to keep away pain, suffering and envy and it is an amulet that protects against the “evil-eye.”
  • The “dar uma banana” or “give a banana” gesture in Brazil is an extremely offensive and rude gesture and it consists of bending the right arm at the elbow with the hand as a fist while making a chopping movement with the left arm towards the right elbow as in a forearm jerk. This gesture is also used on other countries of Latin America, in France and Italy with different names, of course. It is the equivalent of giving someone the finger.

If you are interested in what makes Brazilians tick especially regarding engagement on Social Media Campaigns, I suggest you read this brilliant example of an Advertising campaign and Social Media success story with flawless  execution and outstanding social media results: The campaign “One Thousand Casmurros,” made for the biggest TV network in Brazil, Rede Globo.

Other Meaning of Body Language Articles:

body language brazil

Body language in Brazil

Dig This Poem

Dig This Poem

Next Quote? funny inspirational quotes on every post!

7 replies
  1. Manuela Rodriguez
    Manuela Rodriguez says:

    I have traveled to Brazil and this is right on the money. I could have used this guide before heading out there. Thank you for posting!!

    • Havi Goffan
      Havi Goffan says:

      There are such subtle differences in body language amongst cultures that even if one belongs to a very similar one, one would be amazed at what is misinterpreted.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] medio, y también se usa para mostrar desacuerdo o para denegar una solicitud. Brasil: un amuleto de buena suerte para quitar el mal de ojo y los celos. Indonesia: un gesto ofensivo. […]

  2. […] finger, and is also used to show disagreement or to deny a request.Brazil: A good luck charm to ward off the evil eye and jealousy.Indonesia: An offensive gesture.American Sign Language […]

  3. […] middle finger, and is also used to show disagreement or to deny a request.Brazil: A good luck charm to ward off the evil eye and jealousy.Indonesia: An offensive gesture.American Sign Language […]

  4. Brazilian gestures says:

    The meaning of gestures: body language in Brazil | Hispanic …Apr 12, 2011 … Let’s cover Brazil now as our next country and explore their gestures and body language a bit. When conversing, good eye contact is important.

  5. […] The meaning of gestures: body language in Brazil | Hispanic …Apr 12, 2011 … Brazil body language. Let’s cover Brazil now as our next country and explore their gestures and body language a bit. When conversing, good … […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *