I've read in a newspaper "Ao mandar o Bernardo às compras será preciso usar durex." It was quoted as a sentence in ptPT which would certainly confuse a Brazilian reader, but there was no explanation why it might do so. I know that "durex" means a condom in ptPT, and "scotch tape" in ptBR.

My question is: Is "mandar o Bernardo às compras" an idiom or should I understand it literally for what it is?

  • @E_net4 I read it in a newspaper article written by a Brazilian reported who visited Portugal. He comments on several differences between ptBR and ptPT and ends his column saying: "Ao mandar o Bernardo......." but leaves this one unexplained.
    – Centaurus
    Oct 4 '15 at 17:54


Mandar o Bernardo às compras (send Bernardo to buy something) would have most Portuguese confused too. According to my sources it is an Azorean expression, meaning to copulate. It has even made it to the Dicionário Informal, which is not terribly precise about where it is used. One interpretation is that the couple would send the kid, Bernardo, to the shop to have a little privacy. But Italians may have interpreted Bernardo differently, for according to this German book on Italian erotic language the phrase gave rise to the Italian word bernarda, which does not mean little girl at all.


Mandar o Bernardo às compras confundiria também a maioria dos portugueses. De acordo com as minhas fontes é uma expressão açoriana que significa copular. Até já chegou ao Dicionário Informal, que não é particularmente preciso sobre onde ela é conhecida. Uma interpretação é que o casal mandaria o puto, o Bernardo, às compras para ter um bocadinho de privacidade. Mas os italianos devem ter interpretado Bernardo de outro modo, pois de acordo com este livro alemão sobre linguagem erótica italiana a expressão deu origem à palavra italiana bernarda, que não tem nada a ver com menina.

  • That's what I thought it migh be. A very funny way of saying it... lol.
    – Centaurus
    Oct 4 '15 at 18:10
  • Reminds me of the English expression "I have to see a man about a dog" which doesn't mean the same but uses a euphemistic sentence too.
    – Centaurus
    Oct 4 '15 at 18:14
  • It is funny. I'm going to ask an Azorean friend of mine about it.
    – Jacinto
    Oct 4 '15 at 18:22
  • Também nunca tinha ouvido eu.
    – Jorge B.
    Oct 5 '15 at 9:45
  • Jacinto, my cousin from Terceira, Azores, says he never heard it. I wonder where in Portugal people have heard it.
    – Centaurus
    Oct 7 '15 at 0:36

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