The joy of languages

TOP 7 Romanian Idioms

If idioms offer a unique insight into a language’s culture, wait until you read these Romanian ones!

Here are seven of our favourite Romanian idioms for you to read, so you don’t have to stare at someone “like a cat at a calendar” next time someone tells you one of these idioms!

1. „Ca baba şi mitraliera”

Literal translation: Like an old lady with a machine-gun.

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You’d hear this when someone’s describing two things that have absolutely nothing in common.

2. „Se uită ca pisica-n calendar”

Literal translation: Stare like a cat at a calendar.

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You know those people who have absolutely no idea what they’re doing? In Romanian, this is what you’d call them! What might a cat think it’ll learn from looking at a calendar?

3. „Plimbă ursul”

Literal translation: Go walk the bear!

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Want to tell someone where to go? Tell them to go walk the bear!

4. „Ca măgarul în ceaţă”

Literal translation: Like a donkey in the mist.

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Know someone who always disappears when you need them the most? They’re like a donkey in the mist!

5. ,,A călca pe bec”

Literal translation: To step on a lightbulb.

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Everyone makes mistakes from time to time and that’s fine! This is what you say in Romanian when you make one.

6. „Ai casa în pantă?”

Literal translation: Was this house built on a slope?

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This is a roundabout way of telling someone to close the door on their way out. Our house was not built on a slope so the door won’t shut itself!

7. „Ai venit cu mâna in fund?”

Literal translation: Did you come with your palm between your butt-cheeks?

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It’s often considered a nice gesture to bring a little something with you when you go and visit someone. A nice bottle of wine, a pineapple, or some palincă maybe. However, if you’ve forgotten to take something, then in Romanian people might ask you if you’ve arrived with the palm of your hand between your butt-cheeks. Feeling inspired to learn a language?

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