Good News

When you have a language like Romanian, sometimes you get two (or more) similar words with subtle shades of meaning that come from two different linguistic sources.

In Romanian, stiri (shteer) and veste (ves-teh) both mean “news.” The first comes from Latin and means “knowledge” while the second comes from Slavic roots and means “that which is new” or news.

If you’re talking about journalism, the right word to use is always stiri. But when you’re talking to a friend or associate and want to say “Hey, I’ve got some news for you,” the right word is veste.

The root of stiri is pretty easy to parse because it is related to words like stiintific (scientific) and stiinta (knowledge), both from a root word for “to know.”

But where does veste come from?

Here’s how you say “news” in several modern Slavic languages:

  • Bulgarian – Novini
  • Macedonian – Vesti
  • Russian – Novosti
  • Serbian – Vesti
  • Ukrainian – Novini

As you can see, it’s not hard to understand where Romanian got the word veste to mean news.

Note: Both stiri and veste are plural. The first is masculine while the second is feminine.

Bonus Points

For bonus points, here are two additional words you should know. These two come from Latin, so they’re a bit easier to understand if your native language is English.

Noutati literally means “new things” and can be translated as “update” in English, but sometimes it means news. Generally speaking, “hard” news is always stiri while “soft” news or news about less important subjects is noutati.

The word actualitati, however, is more confusing because it sounds like it has something to do with “actual.” In Romanian, however, actual means “current,” (guvernul actual = the current government) so actualitati translates to “current affairs.”

True story: Every morning, I listen to Radio Romania Actualitati which I’d translate as “Romanian Current Affairs Radio.”


5 thoughts on “Good News

  1. Extra bonus points: “Stire” is well documented, it is not a modern word. “Dau stire za lucrul turcilor” in Neacsu’s letter (1521).


  2. Both stiri and veste are plural”.
    Wrong: ştiri is indeed plural, but veste is singular. The plural for veste is veşti.
    The first is masculine while the second is feminine”.
    Wrong again. Both are feminine: “o ştire (not un ştire), două ştiri”; “o veste, două veşti”.
    And now you know. Vai, ce bine!


    1. I think Sam makes a linguistic mistake in almost every single post in order to receive more comments (I assume the more comments, the more exposure of this blog). He is very adept with online marketing and writing (and presumably SEO), and a pretty bright guy who seems to understand things well. I wouldn’t put it past him to make these errors on purpose.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. In English, I think “news” has only the plural form – it is a mass noun. Hence a little bit of confusion.
    In Romanian. both words have singular and plural form. The singular form would be the equivalent of a “news item”

    știre – știri
    veste – vești


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