Even though I understand that "pá" is a vocative expression and that it's also typical European Portuguese usage, I have some doubts about it:

  1. What's the etymology of "pá"? Is it a short form for another word?
  2. I've been to Portugal several times but I heard it only from a few persons who seem to use it all the time. Was this a coincidence or is it really unusual? Can it be taken as an indicator of social class or educational background?
  3. Is it informal and unlikely to be heard during a lecture or formal speech?
  4. Is there a region where one is more likely to hear it? (e.g. north x south)
  • pá = rapaz ciberduvidas Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 15:21
  • 1
    The former Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio, used "pá" often.
    – ANeves
    Commented Nov 3, 2016 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


My contribution as a native portuguese speaker from Portugal:

  1. The word is believed to be short for rapaz. I myself remember hearing my grandfather saying paz which is an even better indication of the root word rapaz. Example: 'Ó paz, tu que estás a fazer? Não faças isso!' So, I can see rapaz being transformed into paz for easiness and later into .

  2. There isn't any relation to educational background. You will hear anybody use it in certain contexts.

  3. It is very informal. The doctor or professor will use it if they are talking to friends and colleagues, but not so much at work. But that being said, it also depends on the attitude and ways of the person: I have had university professors using during lectures and it does give a more friendly feeling and environment in the class.

  4. Difficult to say. I believe you would hear it more in the north. Also, the people in the north are more down-to-earth so they use this sort of expressions (informality, closeness, intimacy, and the like) more often.

  • Podes acrescentar que o meu pai me chamava com um ór pá, que eu sempre imaginei vir de ó rapaz.
    – Jacinto
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 18:35
  • Muito interessante, nunca tinha ouvido falar em "Ó paz"...
    – Jorge B.
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 8:59
  • Já fui a Portugal várias vezes, sobre tudo perto de Lisboa. E todo mundo, sobre tudo os homens, dizem pá no final das frases o tempo todo nas conversas.
    – Lambie
    Commented 13 hours ago

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.