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Romanian curses

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Two words appear in most of the Romanian curses: "naiba" and "dracu".

Both mean "devil" with the difference that "naiba" is less strong than "dracu".

The word "naiba" has a Turkish etymology ("naibe") and reached Romanian through the gypsy word "naibah". "Naiba" is more a generic curse word than the proper name of the devil.

The word "dracul" has a Latin etymology ("draco") and appears with similar forms in Istro Romanian ("drac") or Aromanian ("dracu", "darac"). In the spoken language, it is used the form with the ending "u" instead of "ul": dracu' instead of dracul.

Examples

Du-te dracului / la dracu'! (Go to hell)

Du-te naibii / la naiba! (Go to hell) – less strong than "Du-te dracului / la dracu'!"

The words "naibii" and "dracului" are considered the dative forms of "naiba" and "dracul". These dative forms are usually preceded:

1) by a verb that requires the dative (like "a da", "a transmite", "a răspunde", "a spune"):

Dă dracului / naibii asta mai departe!

Spune dracului / naibii mai repede!

2) by a normal verb (that does not require the dative case)

Fă dracului / naibii asta mai repede!

Ia dracului / naibii asta de aici!

In this case, the forms "dracului" and "naibii" cannot be replaced by "la dracu' " or "la naiba".

A structure like:

*Fă la dracu / la naiba asta!

is not correct.

We can replace the dative forms "dracului" and "naibii" by "la dracu' " or "la naiba" only when these words have a meaning of place. In the structures:

Du-te dracului / la dracu'! (Go to hell)

Du-te naibii / la naiba! (Go to hell),

the words "dracului / naibii / la dracu' / la naiba" are referring to a kind of place where the cursed person should go (i.e. to the hell). In this situation the forms "la naiba" and "la dracu" can replace the dative forms "naibii" and "dracului".

The forms "la naiba / la dracu" can be used in any kind of questions beginning with a relative adverb or pronoun: "ce" (what), "când" (when), "cum" (how), "unde" (where), "care" (what) etc. These words are generally inserted between the relative adverb or pronoun and the verb.

Ce naiba vrei? (What the hell do you want?)

Ce dracu' vrei? (What the hell do you want?)

Unde naiba vrei să mergi? (Where the hell do you wanna go?)

Unde dracu' vrei să mergi? (Where the hell do you wanna go?)

Other Romanian curses imply the genital organs: "pizdă" (female organ) and "pulă" (male organ). The word "pulă" has a Latin etymology (pulla) and "pizdă" has a Slavic origin, having the same form in Slovenian, Czech, Polish and Russian. Being feminine words, the possessive adjective should agree with the noun in the feminine: "pula mea", "pizda mea".

Bibliography:

"Dicționarul etimologic al limbii române" (Etymological Dictionary of Romanian language), Alexandru Ciorănescu, București, 2005
 
Mona Moldoveanu Pologea, PhD Linguist
ROLANG School Managing Director