Brazilians Even Have Their Own Finger Snap: Here’s How to Do it and Why

by  Mose Hayward
LAST UPDATED ON  2019-11-12
PUBLISHED ON  2012-03-23

The Brazilian finger snap is just one of the countless gestures integral to communication in Brazil, and never taught in any Portuguese class. The estalo brasileiro, or Brazilian snap, is used to indicate speed; sometimes it’s used to (rather rudely) tell someone to pick up the pace.

On a drunken night on a break from carnival in São Paulo, I attempted to learn the Brazilian finger snap.

To snap like a Brazilian, start with your hand pretty much as it would be for the international version of the snap, in which your middle finger ends up hitting the base of the thumb. In the Brazilian version you keep your middle finger pressed against the tip of your thumb and the sound comes from your index finger hitting your middle finger as you waggle your arm. Keep your index finger very loose.

As you can see in the instructional video above, I completely failed at this, much to the delight of the Brazilians who instructed me. I do hope you’ll fare better.

Someone else has created a more sober (though not necessarily more useful) demonstration of the same. Good luck!

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1 thought on “Brazilians Even Have Their Own Finger Snap: Here’s How to Do it and Why”

  1. Just as a friendly comment, most of latinamerican people do the same. We do it in Honduras, I have friends of Central America and some other countries in South America and also do that 😉

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