Posted in Excerpts at 11:36 am by admin

Planning to travel to Brazil anytime in the near future? Let’s say you plan to attend the 2014 World Soccer Tournament or the Olympics in 2016, then this little known Brazilian phrase will certainly interest you, or it should anyway. I highly recommend that you understand it, accept it, and if given the chance, you should definitely use it. The phrase I am referring to is: “Da um jeitinho.” Loosely translated, this means: “find a little way.”

I will explain its importance and how it really works.

Firstly, in North America “jeitinho” would be considered bribery and some may find this difficult to accept. In Brazil it is an accepted way of getting things done, both in business and in one’s everyday life.

It is important to remember that in Brazil, many government and public workers are drastically underpaid, though they may be in uniform, hold an important position, are respected, and have a lot of authority. These people get things done. We foreigners, and even local Brazilians would find it impossible to accomplish many things without a little help.

Here’s an example: When my family arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1939, we had several trunk loads of personal items, such as mother’s Havilland china (a wedding gift from her parents), a foam mattress, a refrigerator, washer, linens, cooking utensils, etc…. We also had an American automobile. Of course, though loaded down, we were anxious to continue our journey to the South of Brazil and arrive at our destination before Christmas. It was imperative that we got those items through customs as quickly as possible. My Father, with the help of our Brazilian cousin Albert, was able to use the ”da um jeitinho” phrase in a proper and effective way. When speaking to the customs agent, it was clear that the agent thought it would take several days, maybe even weeks. My cousin Albert who, of course, spoke Portuguese and understood this custom, held out his hand, bowed respectfully, and handed the agent some Brazilian bills and said, “da um jeitinho,” which as I said translates to “find a little way.” The agent thanked him and said that he would do his best.

In record time all of our things were cleared (even our car) and we were on our way. The message to the agent was this: you are capable, you are important, I respect you, and I know that you are able to get this done. This phrase “da um jeitinho” can be used whenever there is a hurdle and you are faced with someone with the authority to get the work done.

I believe this is very much a part of the Brazilian culture. It is not considered bribery, but a respectful phrase that lets the person know you trust him and his ability to get the job done; it says that you trust him enough to give him some monetary reward, even before the work is done. In Brazil this is necessary, expected, and a respected way of getting things done. So I would suggest you learn this phrase, “da um jeitinho” and use it respectfully when you find the right occasion. When you’re in Brazil it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

Happy Travels! Da im jeitinho.


  1. Faye Burgen Says:

    Grace, Ronda sent me the info on your book and it has been fun to visit your blog and view the pictures or both you and Bill. You have had an exciting life. Gene and I have been in Washington for four years afer twenty four in Texas. Plan on visiting my son in Mpls this August and eill see Ronda I’m sure. Good luck to you and yours.

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  9. Friedline Says:

    Interesting article.

  10. Puetz Says:

    Thx for the help!

  11. Halliman Says:

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