Slang Word of the Day: Barosan


Actually I have a confession to make. In my last post I quoted a guy saying how “not even a genius” can learn Romanian without a teacher, which made me laugh.

All that was and is true. But what I neglected to mention is that I did have (and still have) a “teacher” of sorts – manele music. I learned far, far more Romanian from talking to gypsies and listening to manele music than I did from anything else. I just never bring this up because everybody who speaks English hates manele with a passion.

It’s a little bit like telling a Jewish person that I learned to speak German by memorizing old Adolf Hitler speeches.

Actually a more accurate metaphor would be if I (a white person) showed up in rural Mississippi in 1962 to learn ebonics so I can better under urban white people. That’s about equivalent to telling a (multilingual) Romanian person you learned their precious language from tigani manelisti :P

Nonetheless, manele songs constantly, constantly use Romanian (language) expressions, slang and even mentalities. In many way manele singers clearly play the same role as do African-American rappers in the United States – they are dumb, thuggish, crude, poor at grammar, misogynistic, boastful about getting messed up/drunk/high, far too wealthy and yet they’re always on the cutting edge, making new slang, idioms and expressions.

One of these gypsy-manele-romslang words is barosan (bar-oh-sun). According to the DEX:

adj. (Fam.) Big (and heavy).Fig. (Substantivat, arg.) an influential person, a rich person – Baros + suf. -an.

In other words, any “big cheese” or “big dog” or VIP type person (particularly men) are called a barosan. But it’s from the gypsy word baros, which refers to a very heavy-duty hammer used by blacksmiths to forge iron. In other words calling someone a barosan is something akin to “The Big Hammer” or just “The Hammer”.

Which, if you think about it, is a pretty cool slang word, almost Tarantino-esque. Again, because of it’s gypsy connotations, very few “proper” Romanians would ever refer to themselves with this word. But if you tell a chief gypsy he’s a barosan, his chest will puff up with pride :D

This word has normal declensions in both male/female and number, receiving forms, etcetera. It should be noted that in slang/informal talk, the form barosanul (i.e. “the barosan”) is missing the last “l”, so is more often referred to as barosanu’.

AND NOW YOU KNOW!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Ariana says:

    To be a true Romanian you must be true to your path & never forget the humanity of people. Look beyond your own mind for the reality of your deeper nature. Do not be so controlled by your beliefs and thoughts and the conditioning of your cultures. And recognize you have come into the world for a greater purpose and that God has given you Knowledge to enable you to find this purpose, to discern it, to experience it and to express it in the changing circumstances of your life.
    Then forgiveness will be something that will arise naturally, rather than being an artificial exercise. This will enable you to see through deception and confusion and to honor the deeper nature of peoples. If humanity is to progress and survive the Great Waves of change, this deeper honesty and recognition must be fostered in ever greater numbers of people. And if you are able to do this and see its importance, you will naturally share this with others and be an agent of positive change in the world.

    Yes, I am undoubtedly more Romanian than you think clau2002. What’s in a NAME? ANSWER is Virtue , in case you didn’t know. You don’t have the right to judge anyone unless you proclaim to be God , which you are undeniably not.

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  2. floreign says:

    There are notable exceptions to the rule of educated Romanians hating manele. Perhaps the most important is Prof. Cezar Giosan from Cornell University, see the article in Dilema Veche:
    http://www.dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/din-polul-plus/articol/maneaua

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  3. clau2002 says:

    Elaine;Judging by your name,you are not Romanian and I presume that you never lived in Romania,hence your understanding of Romania and Romanians is based on other people”s reports.I would say that this patronising attitude from your part before really knowing what you are talking about is a little over board.First of all you should understand that gypsy”s poverty has nothing to do with communism but with their gypsy lifestyle.Is this lifestyle(and those who choose to stick to it) that is looked bad upon because it is simply an antisocial way of life that any modern society does not tolerate and not the individual gypsy who choose to integrate and obey the laws like everybody else does.In the USA not the average law obeying black or Latino person is looked bad upon but the black or Latino who engage in gang activity or drug dealing(antisocial way of life not tolerated by the society).This creates a prejudice and a uneasiness among non Latino people which is yet to be eradicated.A similar phenomena occurs with some of the Gypsies in Romania and Europe

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    1. Andreea says:

      If you suffer your people to be ill-educated
      and their manners corrupted from infancy…

      then punish them for those crimes to which
      their first education disposed them. what else is to be concluded,

      …but that you first make thieves
      and then punish them?
      That Romania created the abundance of poverty amongst its people during communist years & now have to bear the fruits of their past seeds. Ignorance is the only thing that separates people in one country…whether it be that of the Romanian so-called civilized true blood or that of Romanian gypsies. Many Romanians including expatriates have only learned to be judgmental even of their own blood – esp. these so-called gypsies which many are full blooded Romanians. The country should learn to take care of all the people that live there rich & poor, full blooded Romanians or not, including gypsies who are humans too. Germany has stated that they are cleaning their country of these so called Romanian gypsies too & sending them all back to Romania- their homeland. Teach them to become a part of the Romanian cultured society to become better than they are now. Turning your back doesn’t solve the problems. And Yes, I am full-blooded Romanian.

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  4. Elaine says:

    Theres always so much emphasis on Romanians and gypsies – linking them together. Are all Romanian gypsies looked upon as bad people? Aren’t many just a result of past communism & poverty. Many are born from mixed marriages of full blooded Romanian citizens. Makes people wonder why many Romanians dislike their own people after becoming expatriates as they don’t teach their children to respect their homeland & heritage. Romanians used to be proud people with many known achievements. Never forget “Respect” even as Expatriate.

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    1. Sam R. says:

      I don’t look on any one race/culture/people as “bad”. That’s a little ridiculous. But you’ve got to remember that we always have the bitterest animosities towards people who are QUITE SIMILAR to us. Many white southern (Americans) hate and loathe the way black people speak (“ebonics”) yet it’s clear that the (white) “southern accent” with its wide open vowels is DIRECTLY as a result of contact with Western African languages. Personally gypsies have always treated ME right, so no complaints here! :D

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      1. Alexandru says:

        Looks like clau2002 thinks he’s an expert on Romanians, gypsies & American blacks (better known as African Americans) & Latinos. Using old history books or watching the local news seems to be the source of your comments. Lack of knowledge & compassion reflect in your uneducated statement or here-say personal views. Elaine comment was non- judgmental while Andreea seems to say it best. If Romania doesn’t take initiative to fund an education for all of its citizens then it might as well separate their country between rich & poor sectors. Then they can separate the educated & those who were not so fortunate to have higher education like the farmers, factory workers & many family members who grew up during the harsh communist years before 1989. Romania could then be the 2nd separated country like Cyprus has been for years. What good came from that historical event except separation, ignorance & hatred among the Greek & Turkish Cypriots who were once friends & neighbors. Over 30 yrs & there’s still no resolution to reunite such a small island of two cultures. Does Romania want to repeat history & do the same. Or for that matter does any other country that separate their people? The choice is yours. Learn from your past.

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  5. Jon says:

    “Because of it’s gypsy connotations, very few “proper” Romanians would ever refer to themselves with this word.”

    Unless “Barosan” was the person’s last name. Only an ignorant person would assume that “Barosan” for a last name would somehow imply that they were from gypsy origin.

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