Como falo em inglês: Ovelha negra da família – Inglês Online

Como falo em inglês: Ovelha negra da família

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Jan 10
Como falo em inglês Ovelha negra da família

Hello, everybody. O episódio de hoje fala sobre duas expressões do inglês com a palavra sheep.


ingles-sheepHi, everyone. How have you been? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. Please subscribe to this podcast using the Podcasts app for iPhone or iPad, or listen to the episodes using the Inglesonline Android app. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to and click Podcast Inglesonline.

So this is our first episode in the new year, and today I’m gonna talk about a couple of expressions with the word sheep. What does sheep mean? Well, take a look at the picture and you’ll know. Sheep is an animal and, by the way, this is one of those words that doesn’t have a different plural form. We say one sheep, two sheep, three sheep and so on. Also, notice the difference between the pronunciation of ‘sheep’, which is the animal we’re talking about here, and which is a word that is spelled s-h-e-e-p, and ‘ship’, s-h-i-p, which is a big boat. Sheep and ship.

Alright, so the first expression of today is a very easy one, since it’s literally the same thing we say in Portuguese: black sheep of the family. Who’s never heard it in in Portuguese before – “ovelha negra da família”? We even have a famous song titled ‘Ovelha Negra’ if I’m not mistaken. So, yeah, that means the same in English. The classic definition of the black sheep of the family is someone who is the worst member of that family. Not nice, really… Of course, sometimes it’s used with the opposite meaning in a joking way. Let’s say everyone in your immediate family is an architect: your mom, your dad and all your brothers and sisters. You, however, have chosen to become a veterinarian. When you tell someone all that, you could joke that you’re the black sheep of the family since you’ve chosen to become a vet in a family of architects. So, tell us: are you the black sheep of your family? C’mon, tell us the truth!

Now, the second expression is a very interesting one: wolf in sheep’s clothing. A wolf in sheep’s clothing would be a wolf that is disguised as a sheep. Wolves are usually thought to be dangerous animals, right? Sheep, on the other hand, are perceived as docile and harmless. So a wolf in sheep’s clothing is an expression for someone who’s pretending to be very innocent and harmless, but is actually dangerous.

Imagine a situation where everyone thinks this new person – could be someone in the office, for example… So this new person seems to be very nice, very well-meaning and everyone is instantly impressed by them. Only, you have this feeling that this is someone who’s actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You have this hunch that you should be careful around this new employee and observe them closely before trusting them.

Have you ever had that feeling, or have you ever actually met someone who’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Who was that? Tell us your stories in the comments, and talk to you next time!

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  • black sheep in the family
  • wolf in sheep’s clothing



if I’m not mistaken = se eu não estiver errada

a vet =  a veterinarian

disguised = disfarçado

harmless = inofensivo

well-meaning = que tem boas intenções

hunch = palpite, sensação de saber alguma coisa

  • Elizabete says:

    Hi Ana, antigamente se ouvia mais a expressão “lobo em pele de cordeiro” (Wolf in sheep’s clothing).

  • Matheus says:

    Hi ana, very good podcasts, congratulations and your voice is very beautiful :)

  • Marcos Roberto says:

    On the other hand, sometimes all of us are sheep in wolf’s clothing. There are situations that we need to be persuasive, strong and kind of aggressive, mainly in business.

  • Fernando says:

    Hi Ana, very nice topic.

    My girlfriend always tell me how she feel like the black sheep of the family.
    By the way, she loves to sing that classical Rita Lee’s song as well.


  • Rui says:

    Hi everybody!
    My sister said me: “You’re the black sheep of family” and I awsner for her: “It’s not true, because I’m perfect”, hehehe.

  • Natalie says:

    Hi Ana!! I love your podcasts, they are very usefull!! I am following your advice and listening them everywhere that is possible, like when I am at the gym, having lunch, or waiting for the train.
    I am with a doubt though. I have a Android cellphone and I had downloaded your app, but after I’ ve downloaded around 15 podcasts, I couldn’t find any new podcasts to download directly from my cellphone. Now I have to download the podcasts in my personal computer and then transfer them to my cellphone. Is it normal? Have heard anyone else with the same problem?
    Other than that everything is perfect, I just want to say thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    Happy 2014!!!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Natalie,

      I’ll take a look and let you know. Thanks!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Oi Natalie,

      Fiz o teste nomeu tablet, e está funcionando normalmente.

      Por favor me envie email em analuiza @ com
      1) Modelo do celular e versão do Android, se souber
      2) Screen captures relacionadas ao problema. Se houver mensagem de erro, também

      Obrigada – Aguardo.

  • Josué Ribeiro says:

    Hi. How have you been?
    I have met some black sheep and lots of wolves in sheep’s clothing… unfortunately, I can use both these expressions to describe some members of my extended family.

  • Maria Cristina says:

    Hi Ana.
    Thank you very much for your useful explanation. Most families have a black sheep, you can bet! Your lesson this time reminds me a song of Rita Lee in the 70´s. Ovelha negra da família.

  • jonata fontela says:

    hi Ana!! well,I have to confess that sometimes i feel like I’m the black sheep of the

  • Hello Ann!
    It’s a pleasure to have you again! How are you?

    So, I have already known lots of people who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. But I cannot tell.
    It happens since we live surrounded by people and nobody is equal and, unfortunately, we cannot escape that.

    Thanks for your podcast once more.

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