11 Romanian Sayings That Will Help You Understand Romania

Apartment reflections in Romania | © Dennis Jarvis / Flickr
Apartment reflections in Romania | © Dennis Jarvis / Flickr
Photo of Roxana Coman
6 December 2017

Romanians use plenty of phrases and sayings that might sound funny or could be meaningless when translated. However, they come with some clues about Romanians’ beliefs and ways of thinking. Check out these sayings to gain some insight into the Romanian language and daily life.

Să știi ca pe Tatăl Nostru

Translation: To know like the Lord’s Prayer

Romanians are religious people, and in traditional families, children learn the Lord’s Prayer when they are young. So, if you know something like the Lord’s Prayer, it means you know it by heart.

Lord’s Prayer | © David Beale/Unsplash

A-ți lua inima în dinți

Translation: To take your heart in your teeth

No, this has nothing to do with actually eating a heart. This saying means to be brave or to dare to do something.

Brave heart | © Bart LaRue/Unsplash

A băga mâna în foc pentru cineva

Translation: To put your hand in fire for somebody

This saying is used when you’ve vouched for someone. Romanians start from the premise that everyone is trustworthy until the contrary is proven.

Fire | © jackmac34/Pixabay

Să faci din rahat bici

Translation: To make a whip out of shit

As senseless as it might seem, this expresses that Romanians do so much with so little. Give them any task, and even if they have never dealt with it before, they will always find a way.

I-a sărit muștarul

Translation: His mustard has jumped off

This means that someone has suddenly lost their temper. Although Romanians are very friendly, it’s best to avoid annoying them.

Angry face | © komposita/Pixabay

A dat cu mucii în fasole

Translation: He threw his boogers in the beans

This expression means that someone has messed up something, usually irreparably. However, when Romanians know they have done something wrong, they will try to fix it.

A vinde gogoși

Translation: To sell doughnuts

Although selling doughnuts might not seem like a negative thing, for Romanians, this phrase means that you are lying to them. And that’s something they really don’t appreciate.

Selling doughnuts | © barcellosalice/Pixabay

A-ți pica fisa

Translation: To drop your coin

It has nothing to do with money—to ‘drop your coin’ means that you suddenly understood something. The saying is commonly used when someone has figured out something important.

Bitcoin | © MichaelWuensch / Pixabay

La Paștele Cailor

Translation: At horses’ Easter

If a Romanian says that something will happen ‘at horses’ Easter’, it actually means it will never happen, so your wish might be considered unrealistic.

Horses’ Easter | © TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay

A freca menta

Translation: To rub the mint

Romanian’s way of saying that you are wasting time or doing nothing. In other words, Romanians don’t like lazy people.

Mint | © ZenFil/Pixabay

Te îmbeți cu apă rece

Translation: To get drunk with cold water

This is the Romanian way of saying that you are fooling yourself. Romanians are pretty realistic and usually prefer practical people to dreamers.

Cold water | © Photo-Mix/Pixabay

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