Slang Expression of the Day: Nu E Voie

A few days ago I was joking around with The Woman, saying that all international borders in this country should be marked, “Welcome to Romania – Nu E Voie” (new eh voh-yay).

At least around here, it’s certainly an expression you will hear all the time. But what does it mean?

It’s a little tricky because voie has a lot of different but similar definitions, especially “willpower”, “intention” and “willingness.”

But what does it mean to say nu e (there is not) any willpower or intention? That doesn’t make sense until you see this definition of voie:

Capacitate de a-și concentra eforturile spre realizarea unui anumit scop.

Which means something like: “The capacity to concentrate one’s efforts to accomplish a specified task”.

Therefore nu e voie gets twisted slightly to become an admonishment not to do something, along the lines of “there’s no need for that” in perfectly translated English.

In usage sometimes it means “don’t do that” and “stay away from that” or even “don’t get involved with that”.

A few examples:

My landlord keeping Mr. Zig out of the bathroom: nu e voie, Zig.

A parent warning their toddler not to play with a strange dog: nu e voie, pruncule.

Someone wants to dig through your dirty clothes basket: nu e voie, draga.

An inquisitive foreigner wants learn all about Gypsy culture: nu e voie, hai ma!


One thought on “Slang Expression of the Day: Nu E Voie

  1. in that context ‘voie’ generally means ‘permission’. Nowadays people use ‘vointza’ when referring to will power. On the other hand one of voie’s archaic meanings is ‘will power’ – along with willingness, even desire. Google ‘voia ce’am voit’ if you want :) I’ve also heard people trying to sound profound, poetic, or plumb drunker than they really were, use ‘voie’ to mean will power or desire, generally with less than pleasant results. But hey, e voia lor. There are also words like ‘nevoie’ (need) and ‘invoire’ (excuse from work or school) that have as root the word ‘voie.’ Now that I think about it, voie’s pretty cool ;)


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