“It’s Freezing Cold” in Portuguese: 10 Words And Expressions to Use This Winter 

Winter is here! And to welcome December and the cold season, we are exploring new paths in Portuguese vocabulary. In this post, you will discover 10 European Portuguese words and expressions related to “Inverno” (wintertime). 

  1. Que briol/griso!
  2. Vem aí uma borrasca.
  3. Está um frio de rachar.
  4. Está cá um barbeiro!
  5. Chove a cântaros/a potes/canivetes/torrencialmente 
  6. Estou a bater o dente/a tiritar/a tremer de frio. 
  7. Fiquei com pele de galinha. 
  8. Chuço
  9. Chuvarada 
  10. Chuva molha-tolos/parvos

One of the best techniques to memorize specific terminology is to use it promptly. The winter weather is already in full play. Hence, you have the perfect opportunity to learn and practice these expressions.

Besides, investigating these sentences is another insightful look into Portuguese society and culture. So grab your favorite hot drink and join us as we uncover Portuguese wintery vocabulary. 

10 European Portuguese Words And Expressions to Describe Cold And Wintery Weather

winter in Lisbon
winter in Lisbon

You can find all these European Portuguese expressions in our unique language-learning program. The Journey guides you through our beautiful language – Portuguese from Portugal. It also introduces our people and culture with a fun and interactive approach. Check it out!

“Que briol/griso!”

Both “briol” and “griso” are synonyms for extreme cold. Thus, the expression “Que briol!” or “Que griso!” is equivalent to the English: “It’s freezing!

“Vem aí uma borrasca.”

A “borrasca” is a big storm. So, “Vem aí uma borrasca.” (There is a storm coming.) is an expression that anticipates a storm. Portuguese usually use it when the sky is full of dark clouds or the weather appears to be worsening quickly. 

Besides applying it to climatic conditions, you can also say it when you feel a situation might go sideways. For example, “Quando o patrão está de mau humor, vem aí uma borrasca.” (When the boss is in a bad mood, there is a storm coming.)

“Está um frio de rachar.”

“Está um frio de rachar.” is another equivalent to the English expression: “It’s freezing cold.” The Portuguese term “rachar” literally means “to crack.” Thus, this sentence indicates a cold so extreme it cracks your skin. 

See our video Series 2 | Lesson 8 – The One with the Weather Girl to discover more weather forecast vocabulary.

“Está cá um barbeiro!”

You would be correct to say that a “barbeiro” in Portuguese is a barber. “Está um barbeiro.” or “Está cá um barbeiro!” translates to “There is a barber here.” 

Yet, native speakers also use this phrase to describe a very low temperature, specifically cold winds. The explanation is that a piercing wind on the skin feels like the cutting blades used by barbers.

It is one of the most curious European Portuguese idioms for wintery weather. You will hear it more frequently in the Northern regions of the country, which are also the coldest. 

“Chove a cântaros/a potes/canivetes/torrencialmente” 

chuva torrencial
chuva torrencial

The Portuguese language uses vivid imagery to describe things and conditions, including climate. Regarding heavy rain, there are numerous expressions you can pick from. As a general term, you can say: “Chove torrencialmente.” (It’s raining torrentially.)

Then, you also have: “It’s raining pitchers” (Chove a cântaros) or “It’s pouring” (Chove a potes). If the rain is particularly intense, you can say: “Chovem canivetes” (It’s raining pocket knives). This last sentence, also used in Brazil, is equivalent to the English phrase: “It’s raining cats and dogs.” 

“Estou a bater o dente/a tiritar/a tremer de frio.”

Have you ever started shivering from how cold you were? Then, in Portuguese from Portugal, you would be chattering your teeth (“Estar a bater o dente.”)

Winter expressions portuguese Carla
Winter expressions in portuguese – Carla

Alternatively, you can use “Estou a tiritar de frio” or “Estou a tremer de frio.” All these expressions mean: “I’m shivering from the cold.

“Fiquei com pele de galinha.”

Here is another expression related to cold, with diverse applications in day-to-day conversations. Having “Pele de galinha” (Chicken skin) means getting goosebumps. Of course, you can get goosebumps when you feel cold. 

But you might also experience them as a reaction to strong emotions, shrill noises, or even when you get sick. Thus, you can use “Fiquei com pele de galinha.” (I’ve got chicken skin.) for any of these other situations. 

“Chuço – guarda chuva”

chuva molha parvos
chuva molha parvos

The Portuguese word “chuço” originally meant a kind of spear. But it also became a synonym for umbrella, similar to the English “brolly.” 

For a time, Chussol was a factory that manufactured most umbrellas sold in Portugal. Because of the brand’s similarity with the word “chuço,” natives in the Northern regions started using them interchangeably. If it’s raining in Porto or Braga and you need your friend to pass you the umbrella, you can say: “Passa aí o chuço, por favor.” 


The term “Chuvarada” describes heavy rain. On the other hand, it can also refer to rain that keeps falling for a long time. After heavy showers, it’s common to hear natives say: “Caiu uma chuvarada.” (There was a downpour.) A similar alternative would be the term “chuvada.” 

“Chuva molha-tolos/parvos”

Portuguese call drizzles the “rain that wets fools” (“chuva molha-tolos” or “chuva molha-parvos”). Despite seeming harmless, the faintest rain can quickly soak your clothes if you’re not careful. 

This expression originated because fools tend to ignore warnings and remain unprepared. They refuse to wear appropriate clothing and, as a result, get wet. You can also call this type of rain “chuviscos,” “chuva morrinha,” or “chuva miudinha.”

You can learn more funny European Portuguese idioms in our interactive course – The Journey. It focuses on helping you explore and speak our language while having fun!

How to Say You Have a Cold in Portuguese

woman, blow, blowing

The Portuguese word for cold is “frio.” For example, you would say someone has “sangue frio” (cold blood). However, unlike in English, natives don’t use the same word when referring to colds.

A bad cold in Portuguese is “constipação.” This term applies when you sneeze, cough, and have other symptoms like light fever. There is also the word “gripe” (flu) for when you have a high fever.

Contrarily, in Brazilian Portuguese, you would call “constipação” a “resfriado,” which is closer to the translation for cold (“frio”). The term “gripe” is used the same way as in Portugal. So if you have a cold, you would say: “Estou constipado/a” or “Tenho uma constipação.”

Conclusion on Top Portuguese Expressions For The Cold and Wintery Season

How is the weather where you are at? Are you chattering your teeth from the cold? Or are you trying to escape the rain that wets fools?

These were 10 Portuguese wintery sentences you can use right now. Which was your personal favorite? Do you know any other Portuguese expressions related to Winter and cold weather? Let us know in the comments below!

Learning about unique phrases in Portuguese from Portugal is a fun way to boost your language-learning progress. It also helps you understand the Portuguese culture and relate to its warm people.

Now that you’ve extended your vocabulary, don’t get cold feet about using it in your next conversation in Portuguese! Check out our video: Best way to memorise new words. It shares a fantastic strategy you can use to remember new terms and expressions and keep your dialogue going confidently.

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One Comment

  1. Useful expressions, especially for people like me who are living near the North Pole . I just returned from Madeira last night and ” esteve cá um barbeiro ” and “fiquei com pele de galinha” .
    Muito obrigada !

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