Mata barata. Cheap Forest or Kill Cockroaches? Double Meaning Words

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cockroach photo

The Portuguese Language, like many other languages, has many double meaning words. While driving through the city of Boa Vista, I noticed a man on the sidewalk. He was selling something. He had a placard that read: mata barata: 10 reais. What does this mean? It means he’s selling a product that kills cockroaches and the product costs 10 Brazilian reals.

Mata = kill

Barata = cockroach

Reais = Brazilian currency is called the Real . Plural reias. (Plural in English is reals. )

So this man was selling a product that kills cockroaches for 10 Brazilian reals (or reais). That’s all fine and dandy. But here is where things get funny. The word mata also means forest. And whether the person means kill or forest is only known from the context in which the word is used.

But it doesn’t stop there. The word barata also means cheap. So was this guy inviting you to purchase a cockroach-killing product for ten reais? Or was he selling a forest cheap for ten reais? I’ll let you decide.

Up next; Manga Manga and Manga

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