If you speak English and see the expression drum bun your mind conjures up a musical instrument for striking out rhythms combined with some kind of light bread style pastry and it makes NO SENSE.
That being said, in Romanian it DOES make sense, sort of. Drum (pronounced droom) literally means a “road” or “path” and bun (boon) just means “good”. So drum bun literally means “good road”, as in I/we wish you “good road”.
Romanians always get super pissed off and angry whenever I tell them that the way to say drum bun in English is “bon voyage” and they scrunch up their faces and waggle their fingers at me and tell me that is French. Well hopa! Guess what? Lots of expressions in English come from French. It’s called 1066 bitches!
All of this coming, by the way, from a land where people use the word elev (student), garaj, gara (train station), mersi (thanks) and 10 million other French words in their language but oh ho, boy howdy, how dare you English speakers use a French word or two in yours?!?
The thing to understand about drum bun is that this is not an expression you can just use casually whenever you feel like it. Hell no! It is required that you tell someone this on EVERY SINGLE JOURNEY out of town, always, without fail, or else you’ll burn in Romanian hell (reserved for “rule breakers”, filthy sinners that they are).
Friend: Ok then, suitcases are packed. I’m heading out of town and going to a different town by plane/car/bus/ferry/mule/riding atop my pet emu.
You: DRUM BUN!
True fact: When driving the highways and byways of Romania, whenever you enter a town there will be a large sign wishing you “Welcome to X Town!” and on the back of the very same sign will be another message telling you drum bun. This is because you are leaving X Town (even though it’s awesome and fun and you really should’ve stayed) and are heading into Scary Unfamiliar and Frightening Territory and therefore need a salutatory drum bun cheerfully wished upon you or else you might cry and be sad and/or die. All true and not exaggerated in any way.
NOW YOU KNOW!
11 thoughts on “Expression of the Day – Drum Bun”
Another example I know of completely misleading romanian expression is “n-ai de ce”. For me (I’m Polish) for a long time it was “znajdę cię” -> “I will find You”. Phonetically, almost identical, but in reality it means “oh, that’s nothing”