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…

Ghost Writer

As you (probably) know, I keep a sharp and vigilant eye on Romania and politics in this country. Although I have zero respect for Crin Antonescu, I was glad he went to England a few days ago to help lobby against the recent outpouring of hate towards Romanians (and Bulgarians) spearheaded by the UKIP in…

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: 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…

Murder in Piata Unirii

On a bitterly cold and dark morning last week, long after the last club goers had staggered home and before the commuters began heading to work, I saw a murder right in the center of Piata Unirii, the main square in downtown Cluj-Napoca. It was a brazen thing, committed right in the center of the…

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…