By about my second trip down here to Rio de janeiro, I realized that it might actually be a good idea to learn some Portuguese. My temporary girlfriend at the moment was sure she could get me up to speed. COLOCAR is a one of the cornerstone verbs to get down as a beginner, and she was trying to demonstrate to me what it meant. This was 2006, and I didn't have an iPhone in my hand connected to google translate. She grabbed the salt and the pepper shakers and started moving them around on the restaurant table like some shell game.
"Eu coloco o sal aqui"
"Agora eu coloco a pimenta aqui"
By the third cafezinho I was sure that colocar meant something like, to trade places. Não, it does not.
COLOCAR is one of several verbs that express to put, to place. It's tricky to use because it's irregular, and the pronunciation is difficult. But it's by-far the most common one Brazilians use (the others are BOTAR and, PÔR).
Colocar in Portuguese: let's see it in action.