…And It Went to the Dogs!

Three popular expressions in Brazil with negative connotations have animals as their theme. Fortunately, for dogs and dog lovers worldwide, none of those is about them. Let’s talk about cows, oxen and pigs.

“A vaca foi para o brejo” (the cow went to the swamp) is the same as saying “It went to the dogs“. If a cow decides to go for a walk and ends up in a swamp, it is a problem. This animal can hardly get out of a swamp by himself – it gets stuck there and might die of hunger or thirst if nobody finds out it is there. Only a tractor and much patience can help to get the cow out of trouble. Losing a cow means losing future calves, milk and its derivatives, which is not good for the creature nor the animal.

“Conversa para boi dormir” (talk that makes an ox sleep) is idle chat, a poor excuse or conversation with a boring subject. At the time when there was no television and no Internet, the ox was (and still is for some) almost like a friend. It was “someone” you could talk to during long days of field work. Your friend falling asleep while you’re talking is a sign that the conversation is not at all interesting. In this case, the same goes for the ox.

Another animal quoted in difficult times is the pig. If it is time to make important decisions, especially in a complicated situation, one can say, “Agora é que a porca torce o rabo” (it’s time for the pig to twists its tail). The expression seems to have no definite origin, but was probably inspired by the way people dealt with pigs in the sty. The most practical way to dominate the animal was holding it by its tail. Not happy at all, the animal would bite whoever tried to hold it, twisting and curling its tail. It was a turning point – either the animal was dominated or not.

To read about other popular expressions in Brazil with animals as their subject, click here – Have you combed monkeys today?

[Português]

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