Turn of the Tide [Rabo de Peixe]: Learn European Portuguese with Netflix

Are you trying to learn European Portuguese by watching films and series? It’s a great idea! However, If you haven’t realized already, it is incredibly difficult to find European Portuguese speaking series on Netflix. Whilst there are various Brazilian Portuguese series on the platform, there are currently only two European Portuguese series available.

In fact, one was only just recently released and is called ‘Rabo de Peixe’ (‘Turn of the Tide’ in English). If you haven’t already checked it out, it has been receiving some great reviews from around the world.

Set in the beautiful Açores, the story follows the story of four young adults whose lives change with the arrival of a huge quantity of cocaine on the island. This series is absolutely ideal to learn some European Portuguese as they use heaps of slang terms and loads (and I do mean loads) of curse words. The language used is also very current.

Now, if you are wondering if European Portuguese is very different from Brazilian Portuguese, I would say there are some key differences which I recommend you read on this blog post here.

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In this post we’ll give you some of the most common Portuguese slang terms, idiomatic expressions and curse words picked up from the ‘Rabo de peixe’ series. Then you can really show off your skills!

Table of Contents:

  1. How to learn European Portuguese with Netflix
  2. Why Should you watch Turn of the Tide (Rabo de Peixe)
  3. Slang terms and Curse words in ‘Rabo de Peixe’
  4. To summarize

Why Should you watch Turn of the Tide(Rabo de Peixe)

Turn of the Tide" (Rabo de Peixe) is a captivating show that offers an enriching experience both culturally and linguistically. Set in the vibrant Azores Islands of Portugal, this series provides a unique glimpse into the local culture, traditions, and way of life. By immersing yourself in the world of "Turn of the Tide," you'll gain a deeper understanding of the Azorean people, their customs, and the challenges they face. The show beautifully showcases the breathtaking landscapes, the close-knit communities, and the rich heritage of the Azores, allowing viewers to appreciate the beauty and diversity of this region.

Linguistically, "Turn of the Tide" presents an excellent opportunity to enhance your Portuguese language skills. As the series is predominantly spoken in Portuguese, you'll be exposed to authentic dialogue, idiomatic expressions, and local accents, which can significantly improve your comprehension and fluency. Engaging with the characters' conversations and following the narrative intricacies will sharpen your listening skills, expand your vocabulary, and familiarize you with the subtleties of Portuguese communication.

Moreover, watching "Turn of the Tide" can foster cross-cultural connections and promote a greater appreciation for diversity. By exploring the lives of the Azorean people, you'll gain insights into their struggles, dreams, and aspirations, fostering empathy and understanding. This cultural immersion offers a unique perspective on a lesser-known region, opening your mind to different ways of life and broadening your global awareness.

In conclusion, "Turn of the Tide" is a must-watch show that rewards viewers with cultural and linguistic gains. Through its captivating storytelling and authentic portrayal of Azorean life, you'll not only improve your Portuguese language skills but also gain a deeper appreciation for the rich culture and heritage of the Azores. So, immerse yourself in this mesmerizing series and embark on a journey that will leave you both educated and entertained.

How to learn European Portuguese with Netflix

First things first: how can you actually learn Portuguese with Netflix’s ‘Rabo de Peixe’? Obviously you want to actually enjoy watching the series- but it’s important to incorporate some active learning so that you pick up new vocabulary.

I would recommend watching the series in Portuguese with English subtitles first (so that you get the gist of things), and then watching it again in Portuguese but with Portuguese subtitles on, so that you are putting together the words and the audio. Maybe you can watch one episode a week- or work with your own time frame.

You can practice active learning by noting down any new unknown words you come across and memorizing them, and you can also repeat dialogues so that you are working on your pronunciation.

Remember you have another wonderful tool to actively and effectively learn Portuguese Lingopie! Lingopie offers a variety of Portuguese shows including Netflix shows for you to binge watch with subtitles and a microphone feature which allows you to practice your speaking. If you are unfamiliar with any word you just have to click on it and it will show you its translation (saving you the time of having to look it up in the dictionary).

Using Netflix powered by Lingopie is a sure way to ensure you improve your Portuguese comprehension and communication skills.

Read Also:

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Learning a language through watching TV is highly recommended. If you’re learning Portuguese check out our list of the best shows on Netflix to help you!

Now let’s take a look at some of the slang and curse words used in the ‘Rabo de peixe’ series:

Slang terms and Curse words in ‘Rabo de Peixe’

Gajo/ Gaja

‘Gajo’ is a very informal word for ‘guy’ in Portuguese. ‘Gaja’ is used to refer informally to a girl or a ‘chick’. ‘Gajo’ is much more used than the word ‘gaja’ because the female version can have rude connotations.  Because these terms are really informal, try not to refer to your boss as ‘gajo’ or ‘gaja’!


In European Portuguese, a ‘treta’ refers to a lie that has been told. The actual Portuguese word for a lie is ‘mentira’ but sometimes ‘treta’ is used instead as a slang term.

Look at this example:

O que ela disse não passa de uma grande treta!’ / ‘What she said is nothing but a huge lie!’


Okay… this is a rude one. ‘Blica’ is a Portuguese slang word for ‘dick’ or ‘cock’. I probably don’t need to explain that one any further!

Mano/ Mana

‘Mano’ is an informal word for ‘brother’, whilst ‘mana’ is an informal word for ‘sister’. However, a man can also refer to a male friend as his ‘mano’ (bro) and a female may refer to a female friend as her ‘mana’ (sis).


‘Caralho’ is probably one of the most commonly used curse words in the Portuguese language (and it is used probably over a hundred times in the Rabo de Peixe series). It means ‘fuck’ or ‘shit’.  

However, in some cases it can be used to express when something is really good! In general though it is a vulgar word and should be used with caution.


This is another incredibly common Portuguese curse word and it means ‘screw it’, ‘fuck it’ or ‘shit’. It’s normally used to express anger or frustration.


Merda’ is the most used Portuguese curse word. It means ‘shit’. Depending on how it is used it can also mean ‘fuck’. Because it is so commonly used in Portugal, it’s not really considered that offensive. You can use it when you forget something, or to describe something that is of bad quality for example.

‘Que merda é esta?’ What the fuck is this?

'Merda! Esqueci-me das chaves em casa’/ Shit! I forgot my keys at home.

Estamos quites

This is a wonderful little expression to have in your vocabulary bank. It means ‘we’re even’. Look at this example:

‘Tu pagas esta bebida que eu paguei a última. Estamos quites’ You pay for this drink as I paid for the last one. We’re even’.


‘Bófia’ is the slang term for ‘police’ in Portuguese (cop). It is usually used by youths/thugs and teenagers etc.

Filho da puta/ Filha da puta

Another incredibly popular curse word- Filho(a) da puta is directly translated to ‘son/ daughter of a bitch.’ It can also mean something along the lines of ‘motherfucker’ or ’bastard’. This term is vulgar so be careful when using it!


This one is easy to get mixed up with the Portuguese curse word ‘puta’ which means ‘bitch’ but the two words are not related at all. A ‘puto’ is the word for ‘kid’ or ‘dude’. Some people use it to refer to a small boy, or to refer to their male friends.

Example: ‘O puto ainda não comeu’/ The kid hasn’t eaten yet.


This is another common Portuguese curse word. ‘Cabrão (male)’ means ‘bastard’ or ‘motherfucker’ or ‘asshole’. It can be used rudely, but I have actually heard people referring to their friends as ‘cabrão’ on friendly terms. Weird, right? To do this, make sure you are on very close terms with whoever you are talking to (or they could take this as very offensive!!)


Directly translated, ‘burro’ is the word for ‘donkey’ in Portuguese. However, it is also a slang term for someone who is dumb or stupid. (I personally find this offensive because donkeys are actually really intelligent animals but hey - it is what it is !)

Here’s an example: ‘Fogo Manuel, és mesmo burro! Não entendes nada!’/ Damn it Manuel, you really are stupid! You don’t understand anything!

Estou fodido/a

‘Estou fodido/a’ is a great expression for saying ‘I’m fucked’ or ‘I’m screwed’. You use it when you are in a difficult situation or in trouble.


Literally translated, ‘massa’ is the word for ‘pasta’ in Portuguese. However, it is also a slang term for ‘money/dough.’ I would say this word is mainly used by the younger generation.


Although ‘gozar’ is the word for to enjoy something, it is also used as a slang term for ‘to make fun of something’ or ‘to joke/ tease somebody about something.’

Look at this example: ‘Estás a gozar comigo, certo?’ / You’re kidding me, right?


‘Prenha’ is a slang word for ‘pregnant’ or ‘knocked up’ in Portuguese. The actual word for pregnant is ‘grávida’, and ‘prenha’ tends to be used to refer to animals that are pregnant. I would avoid using this term to refer to women who are pregnant- stick to ‘grávida’.

‘Estar por um fio’

This is a wonderful little idiomatic expression in Portuguese that means ‘hanging by a thread’. It’s used exactly as it is in English- to express something that is in danger or about to end/ die.

Example: ‘A vida dela estava por um fio depois do acidente’/ Her life was hanging by a thread after the accident.

To summarize:

To conclude, ‘Rabo de peixe’ is a wonderful series to learn heaps of Portuguese expressions, slang terms and curse words. You have 18 new ones from this blog post and you will probably come across a lot more whilst watching. Because the cast is so young, the spoken Portuguese is very current and up to date.

Make sure to practice active learning so that you actually gain something from binge watching the show. Sometimes you need to listen to things more than one time to really hear and understand what is being said. Use the rewind button as much as needed!

Remember you also have the Lingopie platform to help you learn Portuguese. You have a large variety of choice of shows and films. With Lingopie you can follow along with the subtitles in both English and Portuguese and repeat the audio with the microphone setting. Enjoy your Portuguese language learning and Boa sorte!

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