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The Romanian language has a particular word to express “thank you”. This word appears composite and direct translation of Latin. Phonetically I find it identical if not peculiarly close to “mult sum es[t] cum”, however I couldn’t find much meaning in an expression as such, despite my attempts to find it in common phrases and proverbs of Latin.

The reason I believe in this construct is simple: every vowel and consonant comes in the right place to produce the sound of the word.

Is there anyone aware of a vulgar Latin construct of the kind “mult sum es[t] cum”?

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  • I know almost nothing of Latin and less about phonetics or Romanian but as a shop-worker who happens to have met Romanian customers every six weeks or so for years, I notice that they pronounce 'mulțumesc' like 'multo mutz' which sounds like Italian 'many' followed by Spanish 'much'. I don't suggest those sounds are exclusive to Spanish or Italian and I do notice, eg, nytimes.com (no spamming here) 1995/06/17/opinion/l-romania-s-name-reflects-true-roman-origins-955295.html tells us 'Romanians are descendants of the Romans and Dacians and do speak a romance language similar to Italian' Jan 24, 2023 at 19:44
  • why mult sum and not multum est?
    – cipricus
    Sep 21, 2023 at 17:05
  • @RobbieGoodwin - Maybe you refer to a popular or regional form of "thank you" mulțam instead of mulțumesc (see my comments under answer), where u is pronounced like o in do an a like u in cut, otherwise I cannot imagine what that is you heard.
    – cipricus
    Sep 21, 2023 at 17:10
  • @cipricus Maybe I do, and I suggest nothing beyond what I actually Posted. Sep 21, 2023 at 20:56

1 Answer 1

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No, there is no such Latin phrase. In fact, mult isn't even a Latin word.

I don't know enough about Romanian to offer a definitive etymology, but Wiktionary says it comes from la mulți ani, "for many years."

This yields a verb, mulțumi, and mulțumesc is the first person singular present indicative, third person plural present indicative, or first person singular subjunctive.

However, mulți ani does ultimately come from Latin. An equivalent phrase might be multis annis or ad multos annos. In the former, we do get a phrase like valeas, multis annis imperes as a sort of valediction, a wish that Alexander Severus rule for a long time. Languages do weird things for "thanks", including English ("cheers") and Portuguese ("valeu"). I can see this being a toast of sorts in gratitude for some favor or service, which after a while becomes a standard way for thanking someone.

That last bit is idle speculation, though, and perhaps someone might add more to the story.


Thanks to brianpck who notes that ad multos annos was at some point a standard way of congratulating people. That actually makes it a strong candidate for the origin of la mulți ani.

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    Perhaps an even closer equivalent is ad multos annos.
    – brianpck
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:18
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    @brianpck Ha, that's what I had at first (though with a typo). I'll add that back in and credit you for finding that.
    – cmw
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:00
  • Is there any chance that the expression "multum est" (meaning "that is very satisfactory") could have been used for thanking? - like in the proverb "Si satis est, multum est". Note that ”mulțumi” (to say thanks) also means transitively ”to satisfy”, "mulțumit”, past participle of mulțumi never means "(one that was) thanked", but just "satisfied", "mulțumitor”, apparently meaning ”the one that thanks” in fact means "satisfactory", while "mulțumire” rather rarely and only in plural (”mulțumiri”) means ”thank-you(-s)”, in most cases meaning ”satisfaction”.
    – cipricus
    Sep 21, 2023 at 16:01
  • I feel that the basic meaning of the verb mulțumi is ”to satisfy” and only secondarily ”to thank”.
    – cipricus
    Sep 21, 2023 at 16:12
  • @cipricus I think that's distinct enough that it warrants a question of its own.
    – cmw
    Sep 21, 2023 at 16:34

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