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Definition of Pilantra

A Pilantra is a person, especially a boy or a man, who does things you disapprove of, but you still don’t dislike. This word comes from the Portuguese language, but was adapted in several Latin American countries.


  1. Scoundrel
  2. Rascal
  3. Naughty
  4. Naughty
  5. Cheater


In the 1940s, a cartoon character called Pimpinho, the Zé Pilantra, was created. The creator was the American cartoonist Henry Boltinoff.

Pimpinho was described as a young boy with blond hair, a straight nose, short stature and a cotton candy bun. Zé Pilantra, or Pimpinho, is a comical, funny and naive character who usually wears a bow tie. He got into a lot of trouble and the character’s plot consisted of that.

Pimpinho starred in a series of short comics, usually one or two pages long. He appeared in the magazines of EBAL, a publishing house in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The publisher initially called him Zé Pilantra. After a while, realizing that it was not so appropriate for the nature of the character, he began to call him Pimpinho.

Although the term pilantra has its origin in the Portuguese language, it is very common in Brazil, which is a South American country. Therefore, being close to other Spanish-speaking regions, it is normal that it ends up being adopted. In many Latin American countries with the exception of Brazil, it is used in a more offensive way, referring to someone who is a rascal or a petty thief.

Examples of Pilantra

  • Who was the pilantra that woke me up?
  • The presenter is a comedian. He is a full-fledged pilantra.
  • The group includes thieves, politicians and pilantra of all kinds.
  • A pilantra stole some candy from the counter.