The Hardest Word to Say in the Romanian Language (for English Speakers)

Unfortunately, this tongue-twister of a word is not some rarely used, technical word like jhgeaburi. Instead, it is literally a plague of a word to learn, and if you spend any time in Romania (or Moldova), you’ll definitely have cause to try to wrap your mouth around this particular bon mot. You can’t blame Romanians…

WOTD: Hamal

A couple of years ago, back when I was still getting my bearings on Moldova, I kept being dumbstruck by how many employment offers were posted everywhere. Yes, a few were for lucru legal in Europa (legal work in Europe), but the vast majority were for local businesses. I couldn’t help but wonder – if…

WOTD: Băcănie

If you want to know what life is like in my house, consider that my wife and I spent half an hour debating the sign you see above. I took that photograph here in Chisinau because I was delighted to see a very old Romanian word that I hadn’t seen in years. Alas, even the…

The Net Bag Mini Sack Pack

Following up on my post A Refreshing Drink of Sweet Water Juice, I thought I’d explore some other common words in the Romanian language which have a number of common variants. When I first moved to Cluj-Napoca and I’d go to the grocery store, the clerk would ask me if I wanted a punga. This…

WOTD: Baraj

All the recent events over in Crimea put me in a somber mood, my thoughts turning to that strange old aristocrat Lord Alfred Tennyson and his poem The Charge of the Light Brigade about pointless and foolish deaths on that peninsula 150 years ago. Although thousands of soldiers from Russia and Britain suffered horribly, the…

WOTD: Purici

I’m always out there looking for words in Romanian that you can’t easily find in the dictionary or that the online translation websites aren’t smart enough to handle. Today’s word is purici (poo-reetch), which under ordinary circumstances just means “fleas”, as in the jumping, biting insects that sometimes infest mammals. Etymologically the only related word…

Word of the Day: Stabor

I’ve realized over the years that I keep writing about gypsies, a race of people that few “outsiders” ever want to bother to understand. The gypsies are just there, usually bothersome, and the most compassionate outsiders just want them to “integrate” and be like everyone else. One of the reasons they won’t “be like everyone…

WOTD: Rămâne

With the internet being so ubiquitous and dictionaries (online and “offline” in print) so accessible, there isn’t much need for me to “teach” or translate most Romanian words here on the blog. That being said, sometimes some words aren’t in the dictionary but nonetheless are essential components of speaking the Romanian language. Today’s word is…

WOTD: Cauciuc

As Europeans began their centuries long business of exploration, subjugation, genocide, slavery and colonization of lands inhabited by the indigenous peoples (“Indians”) of the Americas, it isn’t surprising that along the way they adopted native words into their own language for the plants, animals and activities that they encountered. Modern English has hundreds of words…

WOTD: Impodobi

I actually learned this word this year, which just goes to show you that you should never stop learning words, even in your own native language (my latest acquisition in English is gallimaufry). The verb I just learned recently is impodobi, which has a regular series of conjugations. The verb is a combination of im…

WOTD: Bătut în cuie

When I write about “Words of the Day” I like to find either rare expressions or ones that you might not casually find in the dictionary. Whether it’s common everywhere or not, it seems like lately I’ve been hearing this one quite a lot. Today’s phrase bătut în cuie (batoot in kwee-yeah) literally means “beaten…

Double Your Pleasure

Yes! Today you get not one but two awesome Romanian words explained, thus doubling your pleasure! The first one is a common phrase: a freca menta. You might recognize the word mentă because it comes from the same Latin root as in English, meaning “mint”, whether the savory plant or the flavor that we derive…