"Vira essa boca pra lá!"

Translation:Bite your tongue!

December 19, 2013

This discussion is locked.


Literally: Turn that mouth away/that way! It's the verbal equivalent of knocking on wood (because Brazilians tend to actually knock, instead of just saying it), which is what you do when you want the universe to disregard what has just been said, meaning it's a solid way to prevent something uttered from coming true. I guess other close-ish translations in English would be "knock on wood", "touch wood", "watch what you say", or "don't jinx it".

I vote we just start saying "turn that mouth away!" in English.

(tried to reply to the thread but it's not possible when it is that long) =)

December 20, 2013


Based on the comments here, 'bite your tongue' seems to be a very incorrect translation of this idiom. To me (UK English), to bite one's tongue is to stop onesself from saying something inappropriate or unnecessary. From vivsaurus' translations, the true meaning is completely different. The translation should be changed.

January 9, 2015


I'm from the Mid-Atlantic US in my mid-30s. I've often heard people exclaim "bite your tongue!" after someone says something inappropriate. I'm also very familiar with the usage your describe, eg "Bite your tongue: no matter what happens, don't say anything."

August 1, 2015


So it's like saying "God forbid!"

December 8, 2014



In Brazil we use Deus me livre! for God forbid. It'd literally translate to something like God, set me free! C:

September 21, 2015


I thought that's for when someone is testing your patience: "Deus me livre, maluco é chato pa caramba". Does it have other meanings? God forbid is usually for when you ardently hope something will not happen " take care, you could be in another accident, God forbid "

December 4, 2015


A (more) literal translation of Deus me livre! would be [I hope that] God sets me free of that! (?)

January 24, 2016


So it is about superstition, not about "shut up because I don't want people to hear what you are going to say"?

May 27, 2014


Exactly. =]

July 29, 2014


I've heard people say "bite your tongue" with a meaning similar to "knock on wood," but it wouldn't be my first assumption as to the meaning.

August 1, 2015


It sounds quite the opposite to me people I know (in the UK) only say touch wood (whether they do physically or not) when they want something to happen as they have wished. If people really don't want something they just heard they say, "Perish the thought" or "God forbid!" or the new old one I came accross "(Let) heaven forfend!"

August 9, 2014


That's interesting! I guess in that case, vira essa boca pra lá! would be closer to "Perish the thought" in British English, although that does seem to remove the blame from the speaker in a way, if that makes sense. =]

December 9, 2014


To my understanding that's the opposite of what knock on wood or don't jinx it mean. One means you want a run of good luck to continue eg, 'the good weather will continue into the weekend, touch wood'. Or 'don't jinx it' if you've just said 'Iceland will never score a goal against England in a million years'.

I think 'don't tempt fate' or 'god forbid' are much better translations.

July 24, 2016


Used mostly in cases when someone says anything bad that might happen, and you answer "vira essa boca pra lá" in order to avoid that it comes true.

December 19, 2013


Ah, I guess "bite your tongue" could be used for that.

"Bite your tongue" is usually used for things that are true but unpleasant to know (maybe rude when said even). It's like telling the person to shut up about it by telling them harshly to bite their tongue expressing to them how important it is for them to know that they shouldn't have said what they just said.

"I don't like pregnant people. They're fat."

"Bite your tongue, young man, before I come over there and make you!" (Basically, telling the kid to be quiet or they will punish them)

December 19, 2013


As I suspected, it's not a very good translation!

I believe there is "Morde a língua" in Portuguese to those cases you mentioned.

"Olha lá como você fala (comigo)" is used when someon talks with no respect.

December 19, 2013


Maybe "parish the thought" is closer.


  • Do not even consider thinking of such a (negative) thing. "If you should become ill—perish the thought—I'd take care of you." "I'm afraid that we need a new car. Perish the thought"
December 19, 2013


In that case, the Brazilian speaker knocks three times on something made of wood, some beileve that "perishes the thought".

Vira essa boca pra lá is said to another person.

December 20, 2013


We knock on wood too, but I can't really find an exact idiom to fit the Portuguese one. We may have to stick with "bite your tongue" for now, because it can be used in that situation too.

December 20, 2013


I think that bite your tongue would be like engole o sapo. Idk

January 24, 2015


engolir sapo - be quiet when you want to respond, accept unfavorable situations because you need to get where you want.

March 31, 2016


from wwhat "vivisaurus" said, i think "dont jinx it" or "touch wood" is a better translation in english. Beacause I actually thought it meant "turn the other cheek" as in, ignore it. so I think a better translation here could be used. Please vote my comment if you agree.

February 5, 2014


oooohh!!! that makes a lot more sense for it the "knock on wood part" confused me, cuz that's what we always do when doing something for the first time :p touch wood is for saying something you don't want to happen and then knocking on the wood to make sure it doesn't happen and that makes a lot more sense for me. thank you!!! :)

February 18, 2014


I included your suggestion in the explanation, thank you. =)

April 18, 2014


I think vivisaurus's suggestion - "watch what you say" - is a great English equivalent for the Portuguese expression.

March 20, 2014


Given what visisaurus says, I don't think "Bite your tongue" is a good translation. Bite your tongue is just telling someone to watch what they say, but it doesn't get at the "knock on wood" concept that something that has been said should not come to pass.

April 12, 2014


On russian is Прикуси язык

February 24, 2014


Cool, hopefully the to Russian course will come soon and more people can understand what you just wrote!

March 4, 2014


If you are interested, MRMsys, there is an English for speakers of Russian on DuoLingo, with a bit of reverse engendering it can be used to learn Russian, especially if you already familiar with DuoLingo ways! Good luck!

March 18, 2014


They just began work on Russian for English speakers!

March 18, 2014


I dont think your comments are relevant here. You can start a new thread in the discussions section about this,

March 18, 2014


vira essa boca pra lá significa 'pare de falar isso''

March 19, 2014


I agree. Need to keep to subject matter please.

March 18, 2014


morde a lingua is more used to the situation where you think the person has no the right to speak about that subject - morde a língua antes de falar isso

March 31, 2016


google translate was very rude.

July 10, 2014


The quote for the record: "Turn the f*ck over there!" (mine asterisco)

October 28, 2015


here we go again. To bite your tongue is to keep quiet for social reasons. "I couldn't believe the dumb things the boss was saying. I just had to bite my tongue". To touch wood or knock on wood, is to ward off some anticipated misfortune. "it wont happen, knock on wood". "we have time to make the plane, touch wood". Which is the portuguese idiom?

September 2, 2014


in the US "knock on wood" can be for both positive or negative events.

March 3, 2015


I don't like how duolingo has this section yet it doesn't change the translations to the ones that are pointed out to be more accurate.

September 25, 2016


In Sao Paulo, this is a very aggressive way of telling someone to "bite their tongue" because they said something they should not have. Such as in a heated argument or disagreement with out saying, "Shut up!" ("Cala boca!")

September 26, 2016


How about plain old "shush"

April 24, 2015


No! Saying vira essa boca pra lá is used when someone says something and you don't want that something to come true. It's not used to shut someone up xD

September 21, 2015
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