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What does the word "fleio" mean in Portuguese?

I see the word used from time to time on twitter for instance: http://twitter.com/rmedeirosx/status/648601169355505664

But I wasn't able to find the meaning anywhere.

  • 1
    Looking quickly over a Twitter search, many seem to be replacing the letter R with L in other words, which points to the possibility of freio, maybe imitating the speech of foreigners or those with speech problems. Others seem to be inserting the letter L in words for no reason, which could point to feio. – Dan Getz Oct 1 '15 at 17:26
  • Can we contact one of them and ask them? – Jacinto Oct 1 '15 at 18:07
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    An asian foreigner might pronounce "freio" that way. As a Brazilian, I have never heard the word before. – Centaurus Oct 1 '15 at 19:52
  • Apenas um chute, mas não seria uma tentativa de adaptar para o português a gíria inglesa fugly? (muito embora não se encaixe no contexto dado como exemplo... uma gíria regional talvez? tem outros exemplos?) – mgibsonbr Oct 1 '15 at 21:36
  • @mgibsonbr Escreve uma resposta, indicando isso como um possibilidade e não como uma certeza. :) – ANeves Oct 6 '15 at 10:40
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The specific word fleio is derived from either freio or, more rarely and somewhat strangely, feio, and there are basically two general reasons a Brazilian might intentionally shift a R by a L.

The first one involves the famous Turma da Mônica character Cebolinha, a young boy who shifts R by L every time he speaks, due to his dyslalia. Recently, the meme CHOLA MAIS has given a boost on jokes and some NSFW Twitter pages involving him. As a matter of fact, Cebolinha speaks feio normally, so people trying to impersonate him by feio -> fleio are actually doing it wrong.

Secondly, the person might be imitating a baby (for example, a couple doing baby talk) or, more rarely, someone with dyslalia.

The original tweet you posted is somewhat curious in that it is derived from feio, but it is not explicit on if this is a inside joke or a baby-like talking. Other tweets with fleio fall on either preceeding cases as far as I can tell, so it would be better if you added a couple more examples you have in mind.


There is actually another very common reason. There are "jokes" about Asian, especially Chinese people, not being able to pronounce the R sound. Most often, these use the expression pastel de flango.

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    Acho que pelo contexto tem mesmo de ser feio. – Jorge B. Oct 6 '15 at 8:08
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That's a typo. The word is "feio" that means "ugly". Well, unless it's a new twitter slang that these young people use nowadays. But that's definitely not a Portuguese word.

  • priberam.pt/DLPO/fleio – Jorge B. Oct 1 '15 at 10:57
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    Não entendi. "Palavra não encontrada. Se procurava uma das palavras seguintes, clique nela para consultar a sua definição." – Nurdagniriel Oct 1 '15 at 11:00
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    Quase te enganei :P Era só para provar que não existe mesmo, convém ter uma referência :) – Jorge B. Oct 1 '15 at 11:08
  • Não conhecia esse site. Obrigada =] – Nurdagniriel Oct 1 '15 at 14:08
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    I doubt it's a simple typo, because the letter L is far from the F and the E on a keyboard. – Dan Getz Oct 1 '15 at 17:16

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