Slang Word of the Day: Gabor


A few days ago, I wrote a post with a link to the old BUG Mafia song “Cine E Cu Noi” which I believe was released in 1999.

That song holds a particularly special place in my heart because it was still quite popular in early 2000 when I first came to Romania and I heard it hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I went from not understanding a single word nor knowing who Leonard Doroftei was to now – hey look, I’m using it for a language lesson.

Life really is too funny, isn’t it?

One of the “slang” words used in that video is gabor.

Clearly the word looks exactly like the Hungarian (often last or family) name Gábor, which many people know from the actress/celebrity Zsa Zsa Gabor. In Hungarian, it simply means “Gabriel”.

Indeed, one definition (in Romanian) of someone who is a gabor is a gypsy who is also Hungarian.

But the definition BUG Mafia is referring to is gabor meaning “police officer” or perhaps a guard in a prison. It’s a street slang word, used similarly to “copper” or “pig” or many other similar words in English.

Interestingly enough, the word gabor as a slang word for a cop is specifically criminal argot. Two average Romanians speaking informally with each other would rarely, if ever, use this word.

Instead it’s much more similar to Mat (мат) in Russian, a specific sub-group of the “regular” language used solely within the cohort, in both cases the “criminal underworld”.

Note: Gabor is declined normally in Romanian as a masculine noun.

AND NOW YOU KNOW!

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