"Chefe" and "Patrão": Is there a difference?

I recently discovered the word "patrão" and it translated into "boss", like "chefe". Is there a slight difference in words? Is one used in some situations and not others? Which one is commonly used?

Thanks, in advance!

December 30, 2016


Patrão is boss in actual employments.
Chefe is boss in a more broad context. It can mean exactly the same as "patrão", but also "chief", "leader", "head" (in a commanding sense), etc.

December 30, 2016

Exactly that!

March 12, 2017


The word patrão and chefe translate into "boss", as it was correctly translated to you. Both words mean the same thing. Here in Portugal both are used equally and it's really up to you whether you want to use one or the other.

There's some idioms here in Portugal with the word patrão though. We would say "Que patrão!" which means "What a boss!" but we would never say "Que chefe!". We also say "Mesmo à patrão!" which means "Like a boss!" but we never say "Mesmo à chefe!". Why we don't use chefe for this idioms? No clue!

Once again, no difference in those words except in European Portuguese idioms. Please remember that you're learning Brazilian Portuguese on Duolingo, but I'm pretty sure that apart from the idioms I told you about, the rest is correct for both Brazilian and European Portuguese.

December 30, 2016

This helped a lot! Muito obrigada!

December 30, 2016

As a Brazilian native, I normally use the word "patrão" for the owner, while "chefe" is used for anyone higher in the hierarchy.

December 30, 2016

"Chefe" also could be a chief

December 30, 2016
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