How to Pronounce the Letter X in Brazilian Portuguese

In this post, you'll learn how to pronounce the letter X in Brazilian Portuguese and we'll also have a look at the meaning of "x-burger".

The letter X in Brazilian Portuguese words can be pronounced 4 different ways:

1. S and an H together [SH]

like in the English word shop. Let's see some examples:

abacaxi (pineaple)

caixa (box)

xícara (cup)

puxar (to pull)

👉 Whenever a word starts with an X, like in the word xícara, it will always have this sound, the [sh] sound. 

2. K and an S together [KS]

fixo (fixed)

sexo (sex)

tóxico  (toxic)

anexo (attachment)


3. [Z] sound

exemplo (example)

exercício  (exercise)

exatamente (exactly)

exame (exam)


4. [S] sound

texto (text)

extra (extra)

experiência  (experience)

excelente (excellent)

👉 Whenever you see an X followed by a C, both of these letters will form also this sound, the [S] sound

There are many rules regarding the different sounds of the letter X, and each of these rules have many exceptions to them.

It's really not worth trying and memorizing all these rules. What I recommend is that when you come across a word with an X in it, try and learn how it's pronounced. There are many tools you for that, like the Google Translate extension for Chrome, which after you click on a word it gives you the meaning and the pronunciation of the word, and there's also a free online pronunciation dictionary called Forvo.

Now, let's talk about x-burger

If you've been to Brazil before you might have come across this option on restaurant menus. Now, for us to understand what an x-burger is, we need to look at how the letter X is actually called in Portuguese. The name of this letter is xis, which sounds a little bit like cheese, so when Brazilians want to order a cheeseburger they would normally pronounce it as [sheezburger], so the word 'cheese' has been replaced by the letter X.

Categories: Pronunciation