If you’ve already met a Romanian, you know that they like to laugh at others as well as at themselves. They are funny people, but what’s even more comic is to hear a one speak, using Romanian sayings that make no sense. Here’s a guide to the most amusing expressions they use in daily life.
I-a picat fața
Translation: his face has fallen off
A surprising or shocking situation may cause a Romanian’s face to fall off, so be careful with the news you give to your Romanian friend.
Translation: he is throwing vapours at you
If a Romanian is trying to fool you, then he or she will ‘throw vapours’ at you. A funny way of saying that the other one is telling you lies or trying to persuade you about something false.
Translation: you are cabbage
Humans and cabbage are certainly not the same. Well, unless you travel to Romania. There, if you are exhausted or chaotic, ‘you are cabbage’. If you have no knowledge in one important matter, ‘you are cabbage’. If your house is a mess, ‘it is cabbage’. Think about that the next time you eat one in Romania.
A scoate din pepeni
Translation: to take someone out of his watermelons
Another expression where food is involved: a scoate din pepeni. Literally meaning ‘to take a Romanian out of his watermelons’, your friends may use it on you if you drive them nuts. So be careful, you might not want to know what’s gonna get out of those watermelons.
Se simte cu musca pe căciulă
Translation: he is feeling the fly on his cap
If a Romanian feels guilty for something, he will ‘feel the fly on his cap’. And no, you won’t see either the cap or the fly, but he will certainly feel the burden of it.
Are mintea creață
Translation: he has a curly mind
Having curly hair is beautiful and cute, but having a ‘curly mind’, well, that’s even better, depending on which side you look at it. If someone has a ‘curly mind’, it means the person can either have genius or strange ideas. As I said, it all depends on what’s strange and what’s genius to you.
Frecție la picior de lemn
Translation: A rub on a wooden leg
Pinocchio is certainly not a Romanian character, but he might have inspired this expression. Yet, when a Romanian talks about something that is frecție la picior de lemn, it means it is useless.
Se uită ca pisica-n calendar
Translation: staring like a cat at a calendar
Have you already seen a cat looking at a calendar and thought what is crossing her mind? Well, this might sound hilarious, but if someone is ‘staring like a cat at a calendar’, it means the person is confused or has been taken by surprise by a certain situation.
A umbla cu cioara vopsită
Translation: walking with the painted crow
Try ‘walking with the painted crow’ in Romania and you will lose your friend’s trust. This expression is used when you are trying to fool or lie to someone. And Romanians don’t really appreciate that.
Translation: walk the bear
If an upset English speaker would say ‘leave me alone’, a bothered Romanian will say plimbă ursul. There are plenty of brown bears in Romania, but we would advise you not to try it. Just go away and let the other person calm down.
Are pitici pe creier
Translation: he has dwarfs on his head
A Romanian is not crazy. Instead, he has ‘dwarfs on his head’. Imagine all the little creatures wandering around on your friend’s head. Crazy, no? Well yes, that means your Romanian friend might have gone a little bit crazy.