Word of the Day: Maidanez


I’m sure many of you have been following along with the events unfolding in Egypt, incredibly reminiscent of Romania’s own 1989 revolution. My hat is definitely off to Al-Jazeera‘s live coverage (in English) as it has been phenomenal.

The center of Egypt’s protests is in “Tahrir Square”, also known as “Midan” (sometimes Maidan) Tahrir, which translates to Liberation (Tahrir) Square (Maidan).

I recognized this word instantly because – ironically enough – I learned the related Romanian word maidanez back in 2006 when the Japanese businessman was killed by a dog. In Romanian, maidanez is an adjective used to describe a dog (rarely another kind of animal) that is homeless, without an owner or in other words “feral”.

The root of the word – maidan – means “square” or public plaza, exactly how it’s used in Egypt. I learned this word via Ukrainian (Майдан – nearly identical pronunciation) during their 2004 revolution, which was centered around Maidan Nezalezhnosti, which means “Independence Plaza” (or “Square”).

The root of this word is actually Persian (from Iran) in origin, used in Arabic, Turkish, Ukrainian and many other languages throughout the world. Therefore in Romanian a feral dog (maidanez) means a dog “of the square” or essentially wandering around the public areas (without an owner).

AND NOW YOU KNOW!

8 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Maidanez

  1. Oh, I forgot the Persian word for enemy: dusman which exists with the same meaning and pronounciation in Romanian language. Why Romanian uses a Persian word for enemy instead of a Latin or Slavic one is something of a mystery.

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  2. Sam,

    Maidan is not the only Persian word entered into Romanian via the Turkish language. There are other Persian words like musterii (customers), bistari (money- entered via Gypsy language), bazar (market), ceai (tea) and some others. There are also some Arabic imports like mahala (town area) and pisica (cat – that comes from the Arabic Bis+ica suffix).

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  3. Feral doesn’t mean homeless though, it means “returned to a wild state” (which is not the same thing)

    Until yesterday Egypt was looking like Romania circa 1989. Now it’s looking like Romania circa 1990. Romania can now say that it has exported a new concept to the world – the mineriada. I hope Iliescu is proud of himself, for inventing this tactic and exporting it to other worthlesss dictatorial scum the world over

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      1. Nah, I think this tactic of bringing in people from outside the cities, arming them with simple weapons, paying them, and telling them to attack peaceful protestors is pure Romania 1990. Pure Iliescu.

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