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!