Jeitinho (Brazilian Portuguese: [ʒejˈtʃĩɲu], "knack") is an expression for the way of doing things by circumventing rules and social conventions. It is a typically Brazilian method of social navigation where an individual can use emotional resources (appeal to emotion), blackmail, family ties, promises, rewards or money to obtain favors or to get an advantage. It is a similar concept to viveza criolla in Argentina and Uruguay, and malicia indigena in Colombia.
The word "jeitinho" comes from the expression dar um jeito, literally "find a way." It implies the use of resources at hand, as well as personal connections, and creativity. Como é que ele conseguiu os bilhetes? How did he manage to get those tickets? Ele deu um jeito or in english "He found a way"
A typical way of a jeitinho is recurso de esperteza, which means a resource used by espertos, savvy, cunning, or sly individuals who use common sense and prior knowledge, as well as naturally gifted intelligence in their thought processes. The individual is "street-smart" and not necessarily "book-smart."
The brazilian scholar and historian Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda connect the "Jeitinho" to the idea of mixed heritage and iberian ancestrality in his book "Roots of Brazil" (Raízes do Brasil). In this work, this idea is tied to the vision that the brazilian person itself is a friendly, cordial man, since he is minded to make decisions based first in his emotions than his reason, and that this feature is found everywhere in the country, from the government higher administration and politics to public or low-life everyday. The Jeitinho is also observed in Rio de Janeiro's carnival industry by the scholar Roberto Da Matta in his book "Carnavais, Malandros e Heróis" (Carnival, Rogues and Heroes. Notre Dame Press) as part of the management and creativity found in this almost informal kind of industrial plant, therefore, in its own creative culture. The use of the term "Malandro" also give us the term "Malandragem", very similar to the "Jeitinho", with a less ethical or more oriented to law-breaking feature. The term Malandragem itself could be roughly translated as "Rogueness" or "Rogueship"