The word flutter is used in 4 very different settings: Science, Medicine, Music and Literature in general, with quite very different meanings.

  1. In Medicine it is one of the four (4) types of palpitations of the heart: pounding, too fast, skipping a beat and fluttering.
  2. In Music it is used to describe a technique for rolling the tongue (or the throat) while playing wind instruments, as explained here on YouTube.

  3. In Science it is a phenomenon encountered in flexible structures subjected to aerodynamic forces. The easiest example, here (YouTube).

It is this last meaning that I am looking for in Portuguese.

It is fairly obvious to see that the word is NOT synonymous with oscillation, reverberation, or resonance - and it is a very specific case (or type) of a vibration - so none of these should be a translation.

  • Afinal, qual foi a tradução que adotaste? Ou não adotaste nenhuma?
    – Jacinto
    Jul 24, 2019 at 9:40

3 Answers 3


Both flutter and ressonância aeroelástica are used in the sense you want. Here are a few examples (my boldface in all quotes):

O efeito flutter, ou também chamado de ressonância aeroelástica […]
(Flutter, o “efeito quebra-asas”, Integrando Conhecimento, 2016.)

Flutter é caracterizado como uma ressonância aeroelástica causada pelo acoplamento entre modos de vibração da estrutura com o carregamento aerodinâmico.
(Gustavo Andreas Vieira, “Metodologia de escolha da orientação de compósitos laminados para maximizar a velocidade de flutter em uma asa”, UFRGS.)

Nos últimos 10 anos ocorreram no Brasil, cerca de 4 acidentes mortais com planadores em 2 dos quais, o fenômeno de “flutter” ou ressonância aeroelástica, esteve presente (Planadores Brasil.)

Aeroelasticity(Wikipedia)Aeroelasticidade in Portuguese (Wikipédia)―is a branch of physics and engeneering that deals with flutter and related phenomena. In this sense flutter is also known as aeroelastic flutter, to disambiguate from other senses of flutter, I suppose. For instance this video from NASA uses aeroelastic flutter and flutter interchangeably.

You also find, although less frequently, vibração aeroelástica as in (this article about Takoma Bridge, which was famously brought down by aeroelastic flutter; trepidação aeroelástica (this post also about Takoma bridge); tremulação or oscilação aeroelástica (this PhD thesis at UFSC.); and agitação aeroelástica (this article at UFABC).


This is about "flutter" in medicine. Not exactly the meaning you want a translation for, this may be of some help, though.

There is no translation for "flutter" in pt-BR. We spell and pronounce it the same way native English speakers do. In cardiology, which happens to be my specialty, we say and write "flutter atrial". This can be found in any Brazilian textbook of internal medicine or cardiology.

Unlike "approach", "OK", "delivery", "fashion", "market", which have their corresponding words in Portuguese, "flutter" does not. Inasmuch as Brazilian medicine tends to be a fair copy of what is practised in the U.S., it is just natural that foreign words should abound in the Brazilian medical literature.

I think, and this is my personal opinion, that adopting so many foreign words instead of trying to coin what should look and sound like Portuguese words may not always be the best practice.

  • "We spell and pronounce it the same way native English speakers do". I'd agree with you on the spelling, but there's a whole system of how to pronounce English words in Portuguese.Just ask the hedgehoj chilli peppers, my favourite hockey band ;)
    – Some_Guy
    Apr 6, 2017 at 10:48
  • Obviously all languages adapt loanwords, but I've noticed that whereas in English we tend to kind of approximate the sound of the foreign word roughly ("croissant" for example is never pronounced as spelled although is still somewhat anglicised), in Brazilian Portuguese anyway, all English words seem to be pronounced based on the orthography, I would imagine flutter would be pronounced with a Portuguese "u" and "e" sound rather than the phonetically closer "ã", i.e. "flootehr"
    – Some_Guy
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:25
  • @Some_Guy You've missed the fact that the ordinary Brazilian has never heard the word flutter. If they tried to pronounce it, I'm sure they would sound nothing like a native speaker. But many Brazilian cardiologists have been US trained and even those who haven't, they still speak English more of less fluently. They all meet at the Brazilian congresses and attend lectures given by those who are more prominent. That's how the vowel sound in "flutter" came to be pronounced like "blood" and not "put". And if you pronounce it like "flooterrr" among cardiologists, you'll be frowned upon.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 6, 2017 at 16:30
  • @Some_Guy Again, as for the ordinary Brazilian, they never hear it and they never use it.
    – Centaurus
    Apr 6, 2017 at 16:31

I couldn't find a proper translation, but I've found some approximations:

  1. In Aviões e Músicas ("Airplanes and Songs", a great blog created by a guy who works in airplanes maintenance), flutter is described as condição de vibração extrema (in a free translation, something like "extreme vibration condition")

  2. In this article's comment, flutter is described as vibrações geradas por aeroelasticidade (or "vibrations caused by aeroelasticity")

  3. In wikipedia, it's oscilação auto-excitada que ocorre quando... (aka "specific type of oscillation that happens in some specific situation")

As you can see, especially in the cases 1 and 2, they use the English word followed by an explanation. This makes me believe that there's no proper translation, at least in pt-BR.

And my guess is that people just use the English word instead of trying to find an equivalent in *ortuguese, as it usually happens in many areas of knowledge.

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.