Portuguese idiom of the day: Lança perfume

I just learned a new Portuguese idiom, courtesy of an old (well, 1986 counts as old nowadays, right?) Brazilian song: Lança perfume, which translates literally as “throw perfume.” It means to be charming or flirtatious. How great is that? I can see so many uses for it…”Oh, don’t mind her, she’s always throwing perfume.” Although it does seem limited to the female side of our species — my wife thinks it’s not used for men. (Brazilian readers, feel free to confirm or correct!)

The song itself is highly infectious, and since I love to share ear worms, I’m embedding it here. One thing that struck me right off the bat: when the bouncy beat first kicks in, it sounds like it’s sampling the Doobie Brothers’ “What A Fool Believes.” Also, the Brazilians know how to use whistles in music better than anybody.

When I looked up the lyrics, I came across a second idiom that’s at least as great as the first: Me faz de gato e sapato, which translates as “Do with me like the cat and the shoe,” and means “Do what you want with me,” or “Mess with me.” I am so going to find a way to use that one.

(English translation here, along with a note that lança-perfume also means a kind of spray-and-sniff drug that was popular in the 80s. If true, that turns the song’s use of the phrase into a pun.)

About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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4 Responses to Portuguese idiom of the day: Lança perfume

  1. Ana_ñ says:

    Cheerful post and infectious song. 🙂
    In the link with the lirics there is a witty comment relating it with pheromones. How cool!
    Not so cool the effects of the lança-perfume drug (wikipedia)

  2. Lori says:

    “lança-perfume also means a kind of spray-and-sniff drug that was popular in the 80s”
    I spent 5 weeks in Brasil and attended Carnival in 1982 as a college graduation gift. The song was popular and referred to the also popular inhalant drug. I own the original album.

  3. Rael says:

    lanca perfume is from 1980. Anyway is a DB rip off

  4. Rael says:

    And love goes on from E,W&F from 1980 has also some similarity to What a fool believes 1978

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