Portuguese verb DAR – 7 ways to use it

portuguese verb dar

Portuguese verb DAR: um bicho de 7 cabeças.
A 7-headed animal. Bicho (slang) = animal.

É mesmo.

I get daily requests to explain the Portuguese verb DAR is one of those verbs like FICAR or DEIXAR that can change their meaning depending on the context. These verbs were a great pain to learn because I just wanted to be able to write one meaning on a flashcard and move on...

portuguese vocabulary flashcards

But every language has these words. They give it life.

dar: to give

to give dar (irregular)
I give eu d ou
you/he/she give(s) você/ele/ela d á

Complete conjugation.


The verb DAR can shape-sift

Here are the most-used ways you'll hear DAR used *in addition to the standard meaning: to give. Though there are hundreds of others, they're rare. In order of importance:

(1) dar certo / dar errado

To dar certo is to work out. Literally, to give right. The opposite is não dar certo OU, dar errado. The verb DAR can be in any tense!

Tudo vai dar certo. » Everything is going to work out.
Não deu certo. » It didn't work out.
Está dando muito certo! » It's going really well!

(2) Dá para xxx? = Is it possible to do xxx?

Can you fix it?; Is it possible to drive there?; Is he worth kissing... all of these can be expressed with DAR + para.

Dá para acreditar. » Can you believe it?
Dá para ver tudo. » You can see everything.
Não deu para fazer. » It couldn't be done.

More examples of DAR + para.

(3) dar um jeito

The famous Jeitinho Brasileiro is in action here. The meaning is: Make it happen. Literally, to give a way. I think of it as figuring out a way to do something. This also can mean, to injure, hurt.

Eu vou dar um jeito aqui. » I'm going to fix this up here.
Para tudo dá-se um jeito. » Everything can be fixed (done).

Oh man, this one can actually have a bunch of different meanings depending on the context. The best example is in our novela, O Retorno here.

Dei um jeito no meu pescoco. » I injured my neck.

(4) dar sorte

To get lucky is to dar sorte. Literally, to give luck. You can use dar in any tense.

Deu sorte. » It was lucky.
Vai dar muita sorte! » It's going to bring lots of luck!
Se der sorte de pegar uma dia sem chuva... » If you're lucky and get a day without rain...

(5) dar conta

When you dar conta of something you are giving an account of it - taking responsibility for it, take charge, take notice of.

Ele vai dar conta de tudo. » He's going to take charge of everything.
Você pode dar conta das crianças? » Can you look after the kids?
Eu nem dei conta. » I didn't even notice.

(6) dar um passeio / rolé

A passeio is a short trip. BTW the often-used slang for passeio is, rolé (ho-lay). There is a pun in there somewhere I think.

Você deu um passeio lá no nordeste? » Did you take a trip in the northeast?
Vamos dar um passeio na lagoa. » Let's take a stroll around the lake.
Quer dar um passeio mais tarde? » Do you want to take a stroll later on?

(7) dar moleza

Dar moleza can mean to whimp-out, take the lazy way, give-in, flake out and ETC.

The word moleza comes from mole - Maria Mole. It's some kind of marshmallow-like fluffy cake mix.
Mole!

When a woman dá mole it's often in the context of flirting and making out. Brazil being a bit of a macho culture uses this expression always in the context of a woman being easy (dando mole), rarely a man. When a man dá mole it's usually that he executed something poorly or worse ~ didn't do anything.

More about this fascinating term here.

Ele deu mole e nem falou com a menina. » He whimped-out and didn't even talk to the girl.
A garota deu mole na festa e beijou todo mundo! » The girl was easy at the party and made out with everyone!
O cara deu mole e perdeu o jogo. » The guy played poorly and lost the game.

More examples of DAR

And there you have it ~ 7 ways to use DAR. That's seven chances to impress your Brazilian friends.