When learning any language, one will learn about time indicators pretty early on. If you are on your way to becoming fluent in Portuguese, learning the days of week, months, and seasons barely scrapes the fundamentals. And it may get a little tricky as there are some noticeable differences when compared to its Latin counterparts.
While ancient Latin named the days of the week based on the moon and pagan gods, and Anglo-Saxonic languages got theirs from Viking vocabulary, the Portuguese went in a different direction (albeit, still religion-inspired).
Without further ado, let’s find out how to master the calendar in Portuguese!
Months of the year in Portuguese
First up, this might just be the easiest to learn, as the Portuguese denominations for months don’t stray too far away from that of other European languages.
You should know that the singular Portuguese word for month is “mês” (meh-sh) and the plural is “meses” (meh-zush). The pronunciation varies slightly depending on whether the speaker uses European Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese, but the words are all written the same way.
Janeiro – (juh-ney-roo) – January
Fevereiro – (feh-veh-rey-roo) – Fevereiro
Março – (mar-soo) – March
Abril – (uh-bril) – April
Maio – (mah-you) – May
Junho – (joo-nyoo) – June
Julho – (joo-lyoo) – July
Agosto – (uh-gos-too) – August
Setembro – (seh-tem-broo) – September
Outubro – (o-too-broo) – October
Novembro – (noo-vem-broo) – November
Dezembro – (deh-zem-broo) – December
In case you would like to know how to tell someone about an event in a specific month, you can say “em Janeiro“, meaning “in January”.
Days of the week in Portuguese
Now, this is where it gets tricky… Likely due to their flair for the unique, the Portuguese decided to number the days of the week instead of naming them. There is a logic to the number and it comes from the order of fair days, back in medieval times. The exceptions are the weekend days.
But let’s see how to say these first and go over the explanation later:
Segunda-feira – (seh-goon-dah fay-ee-rah) – Monday
Terça-feira – (tayr-sah fay-ee-rah) – Tuesday
Quarta-feira – (kwar-tah fay-ee-rah) – Wednesday
Quinta-feira – (keen-tah fay-ee-rah) – Thursday
Sexta-feira – (saysh-tah fay-ee-rah) – Friday
Sábado – (sah-bah-doo) – Saturday
Domingo – (doo-meen-goo) – Sunday
So, Monday is “segunda-feira“, which literally translates to ‘second fair‘, Tuesday translating to ‘third fair‘, and so on. But why would Monday be the second fair when it’s the first day of the week?
Well, this is simply because ‘Domingo‘ (Sunday) is considered to be the first day of the week. It’s ‘God’s day‘, as its Latin word ‘domini‘ would indicate. And as good Christians, as the Portuguese were, they decided to dedicate the first day of their week to their maker.
The word for Saturday is thought to originate from the Jewish ‘Sabbath‘, too.
This goes to show both the very rooted religious influences as well as Portugal’s rich commerce and trade history.
Now, Portuguese speakers tend to drop the ‘feira‘ and simply say ‘terça‘ or ‘sexta‘. Another common abbreviation is the numeral one, which you will undoubtedly notice on storefronts when you look for the opening hours. Saturday and Sunday will simply be shortened to the first three letters.
Segunda-feira – 2ª
Terça-feira – 3ª
Quarta-feira – 4ª
Quinta-feira – 5ª
Sexta-feira – 6ª
Sábado – Sab
Domingo – Dom
So you might see something along the lines of “Aberto de 2ª a 6ª das 10.00 às 19.30“, meaning ‘open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 7.30 pm.
Workdays, weekends, and other vocabularies for days
Much like English, the Portuguese word for ‘weekend’ is literally translated. When it comes to ‘workdays’, it will literally translate to ‘weekdays’. Easy enough, right?
Below you can find these and a few other words that may come in handy when communicating dates:
Semana – (seh-muh-nuh) – week
Fim-de-semana – (fin duh seh-muh-nuh) – weekend
Dias da semana – (dee-uhs duh seh-muh-nuh) – weekdays/workdays; ways of the week
Amanhã – (uh-muh-nyuh) – tomorrow
Ontem – (on-teyn) – yesterday
Ante-ontem – (ant-eh-on-teyn) – the day before yesterday
Seasons in Portuguese
Portugal, like most of Southern Europe, has all four seasons, though you can’t really expect snow in the winter. Not that you would expect it in Brazil or any other Portuguese-speaking country either. Which, by the way, are all located in the Southern hemisphere, which means they will experience the opposite seasons to those in the North.
The seasons in Portuguese have Latin origins, so you might have an easier time pronouncing these if you have some knowledge of Spanish, Italian or French.
Also, note that the seasons aren’t supposed to be capitalized as they would be in English.
primavera – (prim-uh-veh-ra) – Spring
verão – (veh-raum) – Summer
outono – (oh-toh-noo) – Fall
inverno – (in-ver-noo) – Winter
In Portuguese-speaking countries, the climates vary greatly as they’re inserted in different continents. So if you would like to know what temperatures and weather to expect at a specific time of the year, it’s best to search with the specific country, the city even, in mind.
Writing the date in Portuguese
Unlike what’s customary in the United States, the Portuguese and other Portuguese-speaking countries tend to write the date going from the smallest measure of time to the biggest: Day – Month – Year.
So, for example, ’03/27/2021′ would become ‘27/03/2021‘. In letter format, ‘March 27th, 2021’ would become ‘27 de Março de 2021‘.
When using the numerical date, you can use either slashes or hyphens.
And this is it for today’s article. Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today or at the very least became better enlightened about the Portuguese words for the days of the week, months, and seasons.
Do you think we have missed anything worth mentioning? If so, let us know in the comments!
And if you would like to cover some other Portuguese basics, check out the articles below: