The other day I heard a friend of mine use this word and I had to smile.
Clearly this word looks like the American vulgar term for a coward and it is almost pronounced the same – but not quite. In fact, you’re not really bilingual in Romanian and English until you can say these two words correctly.
Sometimes spelled pusi, in Romanian it is a term identical with pup or the “Euro kiss”, also known as a “peck” or a “friendly kiss” (i.e. not romantic).
The word pusy derives from the Hungarian word puszi (pronounced virtually the same as Romanian), which is the noun form of the ordinary verb “to kiss” someone. Therefore the Romanian variant is predominantly used in Transylvania and other Hungarian areas.
In Romanian it is never conjugated in a sentence (such as “te pup”) but simply stated by itself, predominantly as a way of saying goodbye to a family member or a close friend.
Interestingly enough, the Hungarian word originally came from an Austrian German word bussl. The English word (kiss) meanwhile comes from the (standard) German word küssen.
In both Romanian and German, this word has a “cutesy” aspect to it, entirely informal and never used in literary or “proper” situations.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!