Meaning of peixe fora d’água, tremer na base, estar na fossa and só em espécie

Learn how to use peixe fora d’água, tremer na base, estar na fossa and só em espécie

Meaning of peixe fora d’água, tremer na base, estar na fossa and só em espécie

Hello and welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips 92, about the meaning of peixe fora d’água, tremer na base, estar na fossa and só em espécie

On today’s podcast, we are going to speak about new expressions you need to know in order to improve your Portuguese vocabulary. Here you’ll know the meaning of expressions such as: peixe fora d’água, tremer na base, estar na fossa and só em espécie.

Visit our previous episode, called practicing verb tenses in Portuguese by using reported speech – Present Tense

Let’s get started!

Peixe for a d’água

This is an expression we use to indicate that someone is not comfortable enough in a certain situation. In English, sometimes people use the expression “a fish out of the bowl”, in Portuguese people say “a fish out of the water”: um peixe fora d’água. Pay attention to the way we pronounce it. We say “fora d’água”, altogether, instead of “fora da água”.

Repeat with me: peixe fora d’água / Your turn.

Now, let’s see an example:

  • Não gosto de encontrar meus antigos colegas de escola. Me sinto um peixe fora d’água / I don’t like meeting my old school friends. I feel like a fish out of the bowl.

The youngsters usually say “estar avulso” meaning the same nowadays: Me sinto avulso or me sinto um peixe fora d’água.

Tremer na base

Tremer na base is nothing more than being afraid of something.  We have an uncomfortable situation again, but this time you don’t feel you are prepared to it. You are feeling afraid of doing something.

For instance:

  • Quando tive que falar na frente de tanta gente, tremi na base! / I was afraid when I had to speak in front of so many people.
  • Dá para notar que o jogador estava tremendo na base com a final da Copa do Mundo. / It is noticeable that the player was scared in that World Cup final.

Estar na fossa

Estar na fossa is to feel down, to feel bad about something. It is normally used considering relationships. For instance:

  • Minha namorada me deixou e estou na fossa / My girlfriend walked out on me and I’m feeling down

However, we can also use it to simply say that something bad happened and we are not happy about it:

  • O Brasil perdeu aquele jogo e fiquei a semana inteira na fossa / Brazil lost that game and I was sad all week.

Só em espécie

I chose the last one, because I believe this is something you can’t understand at first.  We use “só em espécie” to refer to “cash”. I mean, when we use the expression “só em espécie”, we are properly referring to “money bills”, “bank notes”, it is not just any amount of money.

For instance:

  • Vocês aceitam cartão de crédito aqui? / Do you accept credit card here?
  • Não, senhor. Dinheiro só em espécie! / No, sir! We only accept money bills.

Another example:

Foram encontrados trinta mil reais em espécie na cueca do político. / Thirty thousand reais in cash were found in the politician’s underwear.

Believe it or not, that headline is true.

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Click the link to read (Portuguese only) about Brazilian slang

See you soon.

Thanks!

Marcos Sales

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