My 3 favorite (& funny) phrases in Romanian

I’ve been in Moldova for around 21 months… and I still have so much to learn about speaking and reading Romanian. I can get by though,  as some days are better than others. These 3 phrases are my favorites, and often bring lots of laughter when I use them, especially with my host family.

“Castravete mort.”

Disclaimer: this is one that I accidentally created… It should have been “Castravete murat” which translates to “picked cucumber”… but I said “dead cucumber”. We now refer to pickles in my host family home as “dead cucumbers/castravete mort”.

It’s a baby cucumber! Photo was taken during a visit to a farm in the north of Moldova.

“Eu sunt plin.” 

Again, this is one that I had “created”, but this time it’s because we use this phrase in English. We really do have some interesting phrases that are confusing to non-native English speakers. But anyway, this phrase translates to “I am full”.  I use this phrase when my host mom offers me more food, “no thank you, I am full…” in which case she’ll bursts into laughter. Apparently it doesn’t quite translate well and doesn’t make any sense. I have now taught them how to say it in English and I still use it in Romanian… and it continues to bring lots of laughs each time.

The serving sizes I am given to eat are bigger than what I am used to… I can eat a lot now.

“Trage un poi de somn.”

This one translates to “having a chicken sleep” or “having a baby chicken nap”. I love using it with my host family, which as you can see from this theme, it brings lots of laughter. First time I used this phrase was early on in my service and they were shocked that I knew it — many thanks to pre-service language training! 😉

One of the many chickens from my host family’s friend’s home.



7 Replies to “My 3 favorite (& funny) phrases in Romanian”

  1. Awww, these are cute! I “created” a similar one for I’m full – when I’m done eating but there’s still food left (aka almost every time) I say, o sa explodez!! So now if I even look like I might be done, my host mom will say, you afraid you’re going to explode? Hehe.


  2. The Romanian word “pui” does not refer simply to chickens. It is used for the young of many animals, meaning “little one” , for example: pui de leu- lion cub or little lion; “pui de elefant”- little elephant, etc. It follows that in the expression “un pui de somn” it simply means “a little nap” and not a full size one- there is no reference to chickens.


  3. Love this post, of course! I’ve found they have quite an inventive phrase for taking a nap here in Nicaragua, too. It’s “echar un pelón” which more or less literally translates into “throw a bald man”. It’s so great 🙂


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