12 Most Used Common Romanian Expressions

21 Feb 2018
eLearn Ro Academy Team

As we promised to deliver an awesome learning experience we will not teach you here common Romanian expressions like the Romanian for  Hello (Bună), My name is… (Mă cheamă…), I am from…  (Sunt din…)

Of course, you can find and practice them in our courses.

This blog is for more interesting experiences.

Romanian has its own specific colloquial expressions that are used by people in their everyday conversations. They are used, of course, in familiar environments, like among friends and family, and will not be used in formal environments. So, if you plan to know more about Romanian language or would like to improve your Romanian skills, then you need to know these expressions. Thus, next time you will get into a conversation with a Romanian, you will be able to use these familiar expressions, instead of wondering how to translate “cool” in Romanian, for example. So, if you are wondering what is the Romanian for “I’m upset”, or “I am losing my temper”, as a colloquial expression, just keep on reading.

#1 “A-i sări muștarul” is not about hot dog, but getting nervous

This is a common expression used by Romanians that are about to lose their temper. A free translation would put it this way: My mustard is about to jump off! (Imi sare muștarul [de nervi, de supărare]!) Although, it means that he or she is very upset and angry.

sari mustarul = pissed off


#2 “Beton!” the common word for Cool!

This is the Romanian expression equivalent of the English “Cool!” expression. Although the word “beton” means “concrete”, it is used to point out an exclamation toward something exceptionally cool.

beton means cool

#3 “Varză” meaning mess

This word that can be translated as “cabbage”, is mostly used to depict something that is totally disappointing, as a lame pair of shoes, or to describe a state of fatigue. “Sunt varză!” means that “I am burned out!” or “Camera mea e varză”, which means “My room is a mess”.

varza means mess

#4 “A aburi (pe cineva)” is not about steam 

This means that someone is trying to fool you or someone has been fooled. “Mă aburește” would be freely translated as “He is throwing vapors at me”, although it means that “He is trying to fool me”. It seems that the “vapors” represent the shallowness of something.

a aburi = trying to fool

#5 A vinde gogoși (cuiva) is not a Romanian expression for a food

While selling doughnuts is an activity to will see in many street corners of Romania, as doughnuts are an appreciated street food or snack over here, there is also the expression “to sell doughnuts to someone”, which means “to lie to someone”. So, “îmi vinde gogoși” (he is selling me doughnuts), means that “he is telling me lies”.

vinde gogosi = tell lies

#6 “A-i pica fisa”. It’s not about banks or ATMs

When you finally understand what someone is trying to tell you, you usually say “Oh, I get it!”. Well, Romanians say “Mi-a picat fisa”, translated as “my coin dropped”. It’s not a common way to say that you lost your money. This means that the person finally got the message, overcoming his or her “blockage” in the thinking process.

a pica fisa = finally understanding

#7 “Frecție la piciorul de lemn” has nothing in common with anatomy or trees

The Romanians are famous for their plastic expressions and this one makes no exception. “Frecție la piciorul de lemn”, which can be translated as “Rubbing a wooden leg”, is used when someone wants to say that something it is “useless” or that “it doesn’t worth the effort”.

frectie la picior de lemn = useless

#8 “A scoate din pepeni (pe cineva)” 

How do you say in Romanian that someone is “pissing you off”? “Mă scoți din pepeni”, translated as “you take me out of my watermelons”, actually means “you’re pissing me off badly”. It’s not known what the role of the watermelons in this equation is, but one thing is for sure, and that is the fact that this very used as an expression.

scoate din pepeni = piss off

#9 “A se simți cu musca pe căciulă” 

When a Romanian feels the guilt pressing on his shoulders or feels like an impostor, he will use the expression “Mă simt cu musca pe căciulă”, freely translated as “I feel with a fly on my hat”. So, this would mean something like “I did something bad and I am afraid that I’m going to be discovered soon“.

musca pe caciula = guilty

#10 “Dus cu pluta” is not the Romanian expression for rafting

In Romania, someone is not called “crazy”, but “Dus cu pluta” or “gone with a raft on the water”.

dus cu pluta = crazy

#11 “A freca menta” is not about tea

When a Romanian is wasting time, he will say “Frec menta” or “rubs the mint”. So, “a freca menta” means to simply do nothing while letting the time to go to waste.

a freca minta = wasting time

#12 “A se îmbăta cu apă rece” is alcohol free

What happens when you get overly excited about something? You may end up fooling yourself if things don’t turn out as expected. So, a Romanian will tell you “Nu te îmbăta cu apă rece”, translated as “Don’t get drunk with cold water”, which means to “not get fooled” before you know something for sure.

imbata cu apa rece = fool yourself

And, because in Romanian we use to say that repetition is the mother of learning, here is our video lesson