Word of the Day: Pluta


In Romanian, the (standard) word for cork, as in the buoyant bark of a certain tree, is pluta (plew-tuh).

When referring to the stopper in the top of a wine bottle (made from cork) however, the word is dop (dope).

There are some interesting euphemisms using the word pluta. The one I’m most familiar with – and it may just be a regional variant – is dus cu pluta, literally “gone with the cork” but meaning “stupid” or “goofy” or “retarded” or perhaps “dopey” would be the most accurate.

All I know is that a good friend of mine (from Maramures) used to always tell me I was dus cu pluta, which never failed to make me laugh because she’s right :)

According to the online DEX however, there’s also a venit cu pluta pe Bistrita (came by cork from Bistrita) which means “hayseed” or “dumb hick”, used to describe an ignorant country person. I hadn’t heard that one before but I know so many people from Bistrita that I can’t wait to try this expression out on them!

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Andrei says:

    It’s more like “ploo-tuh”, but it actually depends on the regional pronunciation.

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  2. dAImon says:

    if you’re into hip-hop, you might’ve already heard “aţi venit cu pluta pe conductă” during this track:

    no idea what exactly did they mean by that

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  3. fLoreign says:

    “a scapat caii”=he lost the reins over his horses, “om cu mintea odihnita” = someone with a rested mind, “dus cu sorcova”: sorcova is a tradition to greet the new year, similar to singing carols in the neighborhood, “ii lipseste o doaga”= a staff is missing from his barrel, etc.

    However, there are instances where such people are recognized to exhibit unexpected abilities. Such is the Ion Creanga lewd tale of Ionica cel prost = Johnny the Stupid ( http://ro.wikisource.org/wiki/Povestea_lui_Ionic%C4%83_cel_prost ), or even an old joke involving one “plutas de pe Bistrita”, which I won’t reveal in public.

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  4. Katharine says:

    Are there any more Romanian expressions for stuff as ‘dumb as a bag of hammers’ or ‘crazy as a fox’ or ‘off his/her rocker’ that aren’t floating around idiom sites?

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    1. Sam R. says:

      One I can think of is “prost si jumatate” literally meaning “stupid and a half” to mean extra dumb. I’m not sure what’s on the “idiom sites” since I don’t know what they are.

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    2. Mihaela says:

      there are quite a few. here are some examples that I can think of now: “tufa de Venetia” (Venice bush – stupid), “varza de Bruxelles” (Brussels sprout – stupid), “prost de bubuie” (so stupid that he/she blasts), “sarit de pe fix” (dezaxat = crazy), “prost ca o cizma” (stupid like a boot), “scapat din fraie” (to escape the reign – without control), “a tine in fraie” (keep the reign – keep under control), “a avea probleme cu mansarda” (crazy), “a avea prune in gura” (stutter, hard to understand), “a ranji fasolea” (laugh like a stupid), “a da apa la moara” (to give water to the mill – to inflame), “nu-i sunt boii acasa” (crazy), “a se uita ca vitelul la poarta noua” (stupid), “a plange cu lacrimi de crocodil” (false tears or bombastic cry), etc.

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  5. Dacia Felix says:

    Sam,

    Andrea is rightr, you are confusing pluta (cork ) with pluta (raft) and Bistrita town with Bistrita river. In the past, lumber was transported on Bistrita river as this link explains:
    http://www.tripwolf.com/en/guide/show/12162/Romania/Bicaz
    The Romanian word for raftman was plutaş and there is even an operetta on that subject: Plutasul de pe Bistrita composed by Ioan Kirculescu.

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  6. nonick says:

    Also, being pluta about something means being ignorant about that. Sunt pluta la mate=’I don’t know zip about maths’

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    1. Dacia Felix says:

      I even heard the expression : Sunt plutaş la …meaning I’m completely ignorant at…

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  7. Greg says:

    nice one, Sam. I keep a collection of expressions like these in my ‘vocabular’ notebook, to which this just got added. (So far its 80% full of things my wife’s grandfather says.)

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  8. Lavinia says:

    I subscribe: pluta=raft :D that’s the first meaning that i learned for it as a child.

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  9. Matei says:

    Plută also means fishing float / bobbler.

    In relation to the cork, plută refers to the material – the light wood. So you can have dop de plută, dop de plastic, but you can also have other objects made of plută.

    Plută also means raft as the poster above said.

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  10. Andrea says:

    Actually, pluta means also raft, which is the case in the two expressions you posted. Dus cu pluta would be “drifted away” ( from the main course of sanity, I presume) while the Bistrita refers to a Moldavian river (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bistri%C5%A3a_River_%28Siret%29 ) not the Transilvanian county. Being a iute (!) river it was used to transport lumber from the Carpathians to Bacau where the oh-s0-debonaires were probably laughing and pointing at the mountain peasants that came with said rafts.

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    1. Sam R. says:

      thanks! I also realized later (after I wrote that post) that the verb “to float” is also related, and that things that float (such as a raft) could be what’s referred to. Y’all clarified this nicely for me! :D

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