Word of the Day: Bălmăjeala

Ahh… sometimes when I listen in on (or in this case, read) Romanians, I hear them use some pretty amazing words and that always reminds me to include them in one of my Word of the Day posts.

Today I tip my hat to this fine post by a blogger, talking about how much she enjoys my scribblings here on the site. But what caught my eye was the delightful word bălmăjeala (bull-muh-zheh-alluh).

What does it mean? Well strictly speaking it means “confusion” but colloquially it might mean something kind of like a “daze” or perhaps “stupor”, “befuddlement”, “trance” or even possibly “la-la land”.

When you’re walking around in a state of bălmăjeala, your head is in outer space somewhere and you aren’t thinking straight, kind of lost in a mental limbo.

This word is awesome because it derives from the mystery food I wrote about back in October. Yes! The one, the only, balmoș!

To begin with, you have to boil the ingredients at least three hours – that’s quite a commitment.

This is principally a rural dish made by animal herders (sheep or cow), so besides corn meal (for the mamaliga part) you also need “green” cheese (freshly made) from either a sheep or a cow. I’ve also seen recipes that say a little wheat flour is necessary. But the critical step is that it must be boiled in milk (and quite often sour cream as well), whereas mamaliga is boiled in water.

Basically most of the liquid evaporates and the corn meal (and wheat flour) becomes a kind of super-saturated edible soft bread pudding, packed with the flavor of all the things it was boiled in.

So when your head has been “cooked” for hours (like some balmoș) from the stress of every day life, why then, my friends, you have entered into a state of bălmăjeala :) What an awesome word.


5 thoughts on “Word of the Day: Bălmăjeala

  1. Aa, si am uitat sa va spun ca mi-ati amintit de compatrioata dvs Elizabeth Gilbert care in celebra ei carte Eat, Pray, Love scria cum se indragostise de cuvantul “atraverssiamo” in timp ce invata italiana.


  2. Domnule buna ziua,

    Va scriu in romana pt ca engleza cu siguranta stiu mai putina decat stiti dvs romana. Sa stiti ca m-ati incurcat cu definitia cuvantului – eu stiam ca “a balmaji – balmajeala – inseamna a spune lucruri incurcate, fara noima si oarecum balbait. De unde si expresia: “ce tot balmajesti acolo…”

    Oricum, va salut din America:) si va doresc numai bine. Abia v-am descoperit si imi place de mor cum scrieti. Abia astept sa va cumpar cartile.


  3. I got more: brambureală, buchiseală, bănănăiala, bălăceală, bălăcăreală :) and some more that refuse to come out of my tired and lonely brain cell right now.


  4. It’s offtopic, but, contributing to the bălmăjeală, you may want to promote these Romanians for their wonderful project of sending a probe to the moon as part of the Lunar X Prize and then going into space tourism: ARCA – arcaspace.com


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