Romanian Words Similar to Latin

Hello everyone! I was wondering, what are some Romanian words that are of Latin origin? What I'm looking for are words that can be replaced with a different word but have the same meaning. So, for example:

Instead of saying, "prieten" (meaning friend) you could say "amic" which is basically the same word but similar to latin (amicus). Other examples that I could think of from the top of my head:

Zapada - Nea

Intuneric - Obscur

Nisip - Arina

Bunic - Tata-mare

Bunica - Ma-mare

Mov - Violet

Portocaliu - Oranj

I know that these are words that might not be used very often by native speakers of Romanian but I thought it would be a fun activity to find words that are similar to Latin in the Romanian Language!

I hope you understand what I'm asking for and I hope you could help me! I know that this question is more for native speakers of Romanian but anyone can join this discussion :)

March 28, 2018


The thing is the language was re-latinized in the 19th century and the latin words came mostly from french and italian. Some stuck, some didn't. For example, "amic" (italian amico, french ami, and ultimately amicus in latin) is rarely used in both formal and informal speech. Same with "nea". You may find it in poems, but seldom do people say "nea" instead of "zăpadă". But there are many words from latin which weren't reintroduced in the 19th century (when they basically wanted to get rid of slavic influence). Here are some originals (meaning they came directly from latin):

Țară (country) - Terra

Vânt (wind) - Ventus

Câmp (field) - Campus

Bine (good) - Bene

Bărbat (man) - Barbatus (literally the one who is bearded)

Femeie (woman) - Which ultimately came from the latin "Familia"

Car and Căruță (carriage) - Carius

Foarte (very) - Forte

Ploaie (rain) - Plovia/Pluvia

Casă (house) - Casa

Cap (head) - Caput

Rege (king) - Rex/Regis

Regină (queen) - Regina

An (year) - Annus/Anno

Inimă (heart) - Anima (this is cool because "anima" means "soul" in latin :) )

a face (to do) - Facere

Frate (brother) - Frater/Fratris

Soră (sister) - Soror/Sororis

Popor (the people, nation) - Populus

Om (man, human) - Homo

Luptă (fight) - Luctare

Lumină (light) - Lumina/Lumen/Luminis

Noapte (night) - Nox/Noctis

Zi/Ziuă (day) - Dies

Cetate (fortress) - Civitas

All the numerals and so on and so forth :)

March 28, 2018

Thank you so much! I know that the re-latinized words are rarely used but if do say those words will people still be able to understand what I'm saying?

March 28, 2018

Yes. Do you have some in mind? From you examples:

nea - it is known but seldom used (maybe if you want to be pretentious :D)

arină - maybe regionally, but basically its never used in everyday convos.

obscur - it's used often but with the meaning of "mediocre", "unknown", "without merit" - "un actor obscur" - an unknown actor.

tata-mare - it's used maybe regionally and more as the colloquial form "ta-su mare" (his grandfather) - but people know it.

mama-mare - Mă-sa mare (his grandmother) - Mă-sa mare este grasă (His grandmother is fat). Ce mai face mă-ta mare? (how's your grandmother?).

But remember - It may be considered rude to ask someone you don't have a close relationship with about "ta-su mare" or "mă-sa mare". You would use bunic/bunică in a formal situation.

Also it's very common to hear the contracted forms: "mamaie" (basically grandma) and "tataie" (grandpa). Kids will often say "Mâine mă duc la mamaia" (Tomorrow I'll go to my grandma's). Or "Tataie a luptat în război" (Grandpa fought in the war).

violet - is used often (came from french)

oranj - also used often (also from french)

March 28, 2018

Hello :) I assume you are looking for Latin-based words in order to ease the transition to/from other languages (e.g. French). I like your idea, so here's a few that I can think of:

Romanian 1 (English) - Romanian 2 (Latin)

Copac (Tree) - Arbore (Arbor)

Vechi (Old) - Antic (Antiquus)

Antic (Ancient) - Vechi (Veclus ~ Vetulus)

Forță (Strength) - Putere (Potere ~ Posse)

Vorbă (Word) - Cuvânt (Conventum)

Gând (Thought) - Idee (Idea)

Regiune (Region) - Teritoriu (Territorium)

Teritoriu (Territory) - Regiune (Regio)

Vrajă (Spell) - Farmec (Pharmacum)

Pustiu (Wasteland) - Deșert (Desertum)

Words with ~ come from a less formal Latin (vernacular, colloquial). Source:

March 28, 2018

Thank you so much for participating!! This is what I’m looking for!!!

March 28, 2018

On a different, but related note... I have often wondered about the link between the English "❤❤❤❤❤ cat" and the Romanian "pisică". The OED suggests the etymology of "❤❤❤❤❤ cat" derives from the Dutch "poes" and Middle Low German "pūse". It goes on to note that earlier etymology is uncertain, but similar words exist in other European languages, including Lithuanian "puižė".

The similarity between the English and Romanian seems striking to me. Given the Latin for "cat" can be "cattus", I wonder where the beginning of the word comes from.

Wiktionary suggests the word "pisică" derives from "pis" (sound used to call a cat, of onomatopoetic origin) + "ică".

Cat food for thought?

March 31, 2018

Bro!! I actually thought the same exact thing with that word, too!!!! Haha

Also how câine is similar to canine however in Italian it’s cane, so...

but you know that would actually be a cool activity to find Romanian words that are linked to English like how you did here!

April 1, 2018

Don't know the origin of "pisică" (romanian dictionaries give Lixmage's Wiktionary explanation), but I can tell you that there is an old regional variant of "câine" which is "câne", still used in some parts of the country. :)

April 1, 2018

Here's an example from an old poem called "Miorița".

"Stăpâne, stăpâne,

Îţi cheamă ş-un câne,

Cel mai bărbătesc

Şi cel mai frăţesc,

Că l-apus de soare

Vreau să mi te-omoare"

April 1, 2018

Then there are words that although they are or may have a latin origin, they entered the language through other languages (as I said mostly french and italian). Here are some examples:

inteligent (smart, intelligent) - intelligent (fr) - intelligens (lat)

exemplu (example) - exemple (fr) - exemplum (lat)

acțiune (action) - action (fr) - actio/actionis (lat)

a confrunta (to confront, to face) - confronter (fr)

erou (hero) - héros (fr) - heros (lat)

excepțional (exceptional) - exceptionnel (fr)

valoare (value) - valeur (fr) - valor/valoris (lat)

deja (already) - déjà (fr)

rezultat (result) - résultat (fr)

jurnal (journal, newspaper) - journal (fr)

viteză (speed) - vitesse (fr)

totalitate (wholeness) - totalité (fr)

existență (existence) - existence (fr) existentia (lat)

rapid (fast) - rapide (fr) - rapidus (lat) *but there is also repede which is still used and probably came directly from rapidus.

And here are some more latin directly derived words:

seară (evening) - sera

mediu (environment) - medium

găină (chicken) - gallina

a dormi (to sleep) - dormire

timp (time) - tempus/temporis

moment (moment) - momentum

oră (hour) - hora

persoană (person) - persona

limbă (tongue, language) - lingua

gust (taste) - gustum

a mânca (to eat) - manducare

a fute (a swear word, meaning to f**k) - futuere :P

March 28, 2018
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