i love you in portuguese

7 Ways to Say “I Love You” in Portuguese [Plus Terms of Endearment]

My darling, my love, my squash—there are several terms of endearment and ways to say “I love you” in Portuguese.

If Portuguese isn’t your native language, then aside from expressing your love, you’ll also have to consider how to use the language correctly.

Whether you love someone who’s Portuguese or you want to talk about things that you adore, this post will introduce you to the right words and expressions. 


1. Te amo. (I love you.)

The key verb in this phrase is amar, which means “to love.”

It’s similar to the noun for love in Portuguese, amor, which refers to a deeply romantic, familial or platonic bond. It’s also a term of endearment.

For example, you can refer to someone as meu amor (my love). This affectionate term applies to a family member, a romantic partner and even a friend.

If you want to tell someone that you love them in Portuguese, te amo can work for parents, close friends or your partner.

2. Te adoro. (I adore you.)

The more common verb to express quotidian love for people and objects in Portuguese is adorar, which literally means “to adore,” and is often used to mean “to like a lot.”

If you don’t quite feel ready enough to express your love with a heartfelt te amo, you can use te adoro instead, which signals that you like someone… a lot!

Additionally, you use the verb adorar to express great affinity for places, objects and activities.

For example, do you really, really like coffee?

Instead of Amo café (I love coffee), which sounds like you harbor romantic feelings for your coffee, you can say, “Adoro café” (I really like coffee).

Similarly, if you want to express a desire in the conditional tense, you would use the conditional form of adorar in Portuguese. For example:

Eu adoraria ir ao Brasil. (I would love to go to Brazil.)

When in doubt, use the verb adorar instead of amar in Portuguese to express an affinity.

3. Eu estou me apaixonando por você. (I am falling in love with you.)

Now we enter some seriously romantic territory. In Portuguese, to express the sensation of falling deeply in love with someone, you use the reflexive verb apaixonar-se. It means “to fall in love with,” or literally, “to be impassioned by someone.”

The question of verb tense can be tricky here, as it points to the precise point in time when falling in love takes place. For example, to tell someone, “I am falling in love with you,” you use the present continuous: Eu estou me apaixonando por você.

You can also use the past simple tense.

Me apaixonei por você. (I have fallen in love with you).

This signals a serious commitment to your romantic partner.

4. Estou apaixonado. (I am in love.)

After you have fallen in love, you experience the state of being in love. Just as in English, you use the verb estar (to be) with apaixonado por (in love with) to express this state in Portuguese.

Use this phrase to say, “I am in love” in Portuguese. And when you say it, mean it!

5. Você é o amor da minha vida. (You’re the love of my life.)

We’ve reached peak romantic intensity with this phrase! After all, it’s one thing to tell someone that you love them, and another to tell them they’re the person you’ve loved most in your whole life.

It’s a pretty straightforward sentence. However, do note that it’s not translated directly—the contraction da (of the) might catch a few beginners out, but it’s also a good demonstration of how Portuguese uses definite articles more than English does.

At any rate, consider yourself lucky if you ever get to use this phrase.

6. Você é tudo para mim. (You’re everything to me.)

Now we’ve arrived at some more indirect ways of expressing love!

The following two phrases could be helpful if you’re not exactly ready to utter the “a word” (amo) out loud, but want to let someone know you love them all the same. 

In informal Portuguese, people might swap the para in this phrase for pra, but the meaning doesn’t change. 

7. Você é o dono/a do meu coração. (You’re the owner of my heart.)

Another indirect (but actually not that indirect) way of saying “I love you” in Portuguese is você é o dono/a do meu coração. 

It’s another good example of definite article use in Portuguese, with the contraction do (of the) used in Portuguese where we would just use “of” in English. 

Also remember that dono (owner) is used with male-identifying individuals, and dona is used for female-identifying. 

Terms of Endearment in Portuguese

There are endless terms of endearment to express affection towards romantic partners and family members in Portuguese. Below is a list of the most common.

Note that some are gender-neutral, in which case you always apply the masculine possessive pronoun meu (my) before the noun.

In other cases, the gender of the possessive pronoun is based on the gender of the person to whom you are speaking.

Meu querido (m.) / Minha querida (f.) — My dear

Meu lindo / Minha linda (f.) — My beautiful

Meu docinho — My sweet

Meu bem — My darling

Meu xuxu (m.) / chuchu (f.) — My squash

Meu fofinho — My softie, cutie

Minha vida — My life

Meu gatinho (m.) / Minha gatinha (f.) — My kitty

Meu coração — My heat

How to Practice Expressing Your Love in Portuguese

With all these romantic phrases in Portuguese, here are some tips for getting more comfortable with saying them:

Listen to music

Brazilian music is full of references to love, dating, passion and all of the confusion that surrounds the ritual of courtship.

There is a variety of Portuguese-language radio stations freely available online. Radio Transamérica is a great place to listen to popular Brazilian music (known as MPB — Música Popular Brasileira).

To practice expressions of love, look for Brazilian artists like Ivete Sangalo, Caetano Veloso and Jorge Ben Jor. Print out lyrics ahead of time and re-listen to your favorite songs to retain valuable phrases and their contextual meanings.

Another great resource for selecting your favorite Brazilian tunes is Celebrate Brazil, an online collection dedicated to the rich history of Brazilian music.

If you’re learning the European flavor of Portuguese, you can find many love song suggestions in this Quora thread.

Or you can dive right into the music with a YouTube playlist consisting of a mix of Brazilian and mainland Portuguese love songs.

Watch romantic comedies

Observing native Portuguese speakers in a variety of familiar and romantic interactions will help you see how locals naturally use terms of love and endearment.

Films like “Central Station,” “Bossa Nova” and “Lower City” are all excellent Brazilian movies to watch and observe how native speakers employ the vocabulary of love. For romantic comedies from Portugal, check out films like “A Mulher do Próximo” (The Neighbor’s Wife), “Um Crime de Luxo” (Death in a White Tie) and “Maria and the Others.”

Another resource for picking up romantic expressions would be FluentU, a language program featuring clips from Portuguese movies, TV shows and other media. The interactive subtitles allow you to see what phrases mean right away, with post-video quizzes that test your speaking skills: 

Enroll in a language exchange program

Whether online or in-person, conversing with a native speaker will improve your ability to naturally speak any language. It also provides the opportunity to ask language partners real questions about how they use their language, rather than relying on direct online or dictionary translations.

i love you in portuguese

If you are looking for an online option, Tandem is a website and app that connects you with language partners online, and enrollment is free.

For in-person exchanges, you can consult Meetup to discover a variety of events in your area hosted by native Portuguese speakers and highlight cultural activities.

Fall in love

To really experience love in Portuguese, perhaps the best way is to fall in love with a native speaker. Or develop a deep personal friendship. Or even study abroad with a host family!

Ultimately, the rules of grammar cannot fully govern or categorize a human connection as profound as love. Learning to love actually and fully in any language, including Portuguese, requires practice. Maybe you’ll become Plato’s love poet after all.


Whether you’re expressing undying love for your other half or adoration for your darling little xuxu, the words and phrases here will help you say “I love you” in Portuguese!

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