Tomar in Portuguese

tomar in portuguese

The Portuguese verb TOMAR can be confusing. The problems comes from the fact that it can take the meaning of to take or to drink or to consume. In general, Brazilians use tomar when talking about taking something that will become part of their being - that will change them internally. What?!

They won't use it to say take a bus, take a day off, take a walk.
They will use it to say take a vitamin; take possession of something; take a punch in the stomach; take a strong cup of coffee. Things that take over your body and soul.


To take, drink, consume, occupy. You can tomar breakfast; tomar charge of something; tomar a drink; tomar medicine.

Examples will make this clearer:

Eu sempre tomo café da manhã às 7 horas. > I always have breakfast at 7.

Brazilians "take" breakfast (and coffee). They do_not "take" lunch or dinner!

Vamos tomar um banho juntos. > Let's take a bath together.
Tome seu remédio! > Take your medicine!
Nós vamos tomar um choppe depois. > We're going to drink a beer afterwards.
Ele vai tomar conta do projeto. > He's going to take charge of the project.
Ela tomei um susto! > She was frightened!

Can you say, vamos beber um choppe (draft beer)? You can. Can you beber um café? But Brazilians will always use TOMAR. With any other drink it's pretty common to user BEBER. I think the difference is that alcohol and caffeinated drinks are like medicine. Obviously! You always TOMAR medicine. (confusingly though, when one is drunk one is bêbedo, not tomado!) Can one tomar um táxi? Nunca!

From the video learning course, INTENSIVO.