You have heard it before. Something like “Birds of a feather flock together,” or “The early bird catches the worm,” or my favourite: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”
Those traditional sayings are present in every language and mean to spread common knowledge memorably. But they don’t always make sense, especially coming from another culture.
Here are some of my favourite Brazilian sayings that dazzle the world.
1. To act like John armless
In Portuguese: “Dar uma de João sem braço.”
Meaning: To pretend you don’t know or haven’t heard something so that you can take advantage of it
“In my interview with the mayor, he talked about the new hospital as if nobody knew about it. I acted like John armless so that I could take good quotes.”
Why? The expression “John armless” here literally means a person without arms. In war times in Portugal and Spain men…
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