How do Portuguese speakers answer the phone?

Hello was supposedly used for the first time around 1877:

The word "hello," it appears, came straight from the fertile brain of the wizard of Menlo Park, N.J., who concocted the sonorous syllables to resolve one of the first crises of techno-etiquette: What do you say to start a telephone conversation?

Some attribute hello's origin to a derived form of hola. However, I don't remember hearing native Portuguese speakers saying olá in order to start a telephone conversation (not as the first word at least).

These are the expressions I have heard so far from Brazilian people:

  • allô?
  • oi!
  • [organization's name] bom dia/boa tarde/boa noite

And from Portuguese people:

  • está lá? (I'm assuming it means: "are you there?")
  • estou sim? (this one I'm not sure, does it mean "I am here, yes?"?)
  • sim?
  • allô (not as often as Brazilian people though)
  • [organization's name] bom dia/boa tarde/boa noite

If there are more expressions besides these ones, I would like to know where they are used (locations/regions) and their context.

Finally, why is the French word "allô" used in Portuguese?

  • 3
    Tou xim?
    – Jacinto
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 12:27
  • The Priberam dictionary says that alô comes from English, and not from French.
    – ANeves
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 16:40
  • 2
    @ANeves interestingly thefreedictionary mentions that hallo (from where the Portuguese alô derived) is «a variant of hollo, itself variant of earlier holla < Middle French hola = ho ahoy + la there» (1560–70). Current Portuguese pronunciation of alô has a closer phonetic similarity to the French allô than the English hello.
    – Armfoot
    Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 16:52
  • 1
    From french influence, several french words are used, such as "garage" (adapted to "garagem"), "chauffage" (car heating), or "chauffeur" (used informaly and adapted to "chôfer"). Commented Dec 20, 2015 at 18:40
  • "Alô" has only one "l". Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


Tenho uma tia que quando atende o telefone diz "Pronto" e também já ouvi pessoas atendendo falando "Pois não?".

Aqui no Brasil - São Paulo, quase todo mundo atende dizendo "Alô" como padrão, "Alô?" quando olha no celular e vê um número desconhecido, e algo mais amistoso e às vezes com gírias quando sabe-se que é uma pessoa próxima, tipo "E aí!" ou "Fala!", e expressões parecidas, com e sem o nome do interlocutor.

Por exemplo, quando um amigo meu que tenho bastante contato e intimidade me liga, eu já atendo falando "E aí, cara! De boa?!"

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