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I've been learning European Portuguese for a few months and in the class, we always used amigo for a friend. But recently I've encountered the word amigão, which was also translated as a friend.

Here in the online dictionary I've found that amigão = grande amigo, but a friend of mine (who is a beginner like me) claims that: amigão = very good friend.

So my question is: what does amigão really mean? Is it used to describe a friend who is literally big, or maybe a good friend, or a best friend, or maybe sth else? And what is the difference between amigo and amigão?

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    FWIW, in Brazilian Portuguese "amigão" is a (very) good friend, it never means a friend who is literally big.
    – stafusa
    Mar 8 '20 at 21:25
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    I don’t interpret grande amigo as a big-sized friend. For me it means a very good friend indeed.
    – Alleção
    Mar 8 '20 at 22:53
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    You could loosely translate amigão as buddy.
    – bfavaretto
    Mar 11 '20 at 1:12
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AMIGÃO - substantivo masculino. In pt-BR

  • Amigão is very informal, not everybody uses it, and it's a slang-word.
  • You're not likely to hear it from an elderly person.
  • Literally, "amigão" means a very good friend.
  • In certain contexts, however, it ain't necessarily so. It depends on when, why, and who says it.
  • I can say that Pedro is "um amigão meu" and I am sincere, we are very good friends indeed.
  • But I can also say "tu és um amigão", just to flatter someone, acting as a sycophant or not.
  • In addition, I can also shout from my car window to a total stranger: "Hey amigão, can you tell how to get to the nearest gas station?"

The main difference between "amigo" and "amigão", however, is that the latter is usually informal, and used mostly by young and middle-aged guys. Some people say "amigaço" instead, and all the above applies to this word as well.

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