I have seen so many translations for “make fun” that it drives me crazy. Which one(s) should I memorize? Which one best captures the meaning? Looking at a thesaurus we see that “make fun of” has the following varied meanings:
I’d also throw “annoy”, “taunt”, “roast”, and “spoof” in there as well. The list could go on. As you can already guess, looking for a single translation is already a lost cause, but it at least helps to know which is most popular.
According to the Brazilian website English Experts (do a google search for “site:www.englishexperts.com.br “make fun”‘), they suggest translating it as follows (in approximate order of importance):
- fazer piada
- tirar sarro [poke fun at]
- fazer gozação de
- achar graça
- escrachar (por alguém)
- malhar (de alguém)
- tirar onda [take wind out of someone’s sail], mangar [dupe]
- rir de mim [laugh at me]
- zuar [diss]
- tirar uma da (minha) cara
I was quite surprised by the lack of “zombar de (alguém)” (more commonly associated with sneer, mock). Also lacking frequency was “caçoar” [tease], which was the first phrase I remember learning. Along the lines of mocking, you might occasionally see chacotear and escarnecer, but this is getting out of hand.
My suggestion is this: To cover all real-life situations, try remembering (1) a formal translation, (2) an expression, (3) a “cool” way of saying it, and finally (4) a more literal translation in case nothing comes to mind. My preferred translations being:
- (formal) ridicularizar
- (expression) pegar no pé (in the sense of torturing someone day in, day out)
- (cool way) tirar sarro/zuar
- (literal) fazer gozação de
Example illustrating proper usage of “pegar no pé”:
Ela está sempre pegando no meu pé, não para de me zuar.
If you’re Brazilian and you disagree with my short-list, leave me a comment!