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I came across some words chatting with my friend (he's a native speaker). What's the difference between пиздато, охуенно, хуёво and пиздец? The first two words have a positive meaning but хуёво and пиздец are negative. Why? They derive from the same words, don't they?

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We Russians asking ourselves same questions: f.e. famous joke: Почему хуево - это плохо, а пиздато - это хорошо? Но главное, почему пиздец - это хуже, чем хуево, а охуенно - это лучше, чем пиздато? –  Boris Ivanov Nov 23 '12 at 13:27
Note: all the terms in question are profanity words. –  Vi. Dec 13 '12 at 12:18
Just to reiterate, make sure you never ever use any of those words in practice. If you do by accident, just explain that you are a foreigner. In many cases, especially a job interview, a date, etc., one such word could well be the end of the conversation. –  Sergey Orshanskiy Oct 12 '13 at 22:24
In english you have "too few" to mean scarcity but "quite a few" means "a lot". Why? Because these languages are fucking inconsistent. –  Val Dec 20 '13 at 12:37
Am example of interview where a foreigner is speaking in Russian and using a profanity word "охуительно" (= "охуенно") accidentally. youtube.com/watch?v=a0fjBPoaGuU –  Evgeni Nabokov Jan 20 at 6:37

4 Answers 4

This is similar to the following question about English: "Why does awesome mean great but awful mean something horrible?". The short answer is that the fact that a pair of words is derived from a common root does not mean that these words do not have opposite meaning. Moreover, the same word in different contexts can stand for completely different concepts.

For example, the word terrible in colloquial speech can be interpreted as "formidably great" - compare to ужасно круто / ты ужасно красива. Recall the English usage of fucking: it is used to indicate an extreme degree of something, either positive or negative.

As for why exactly some forms acquire positive connotation (охуенный, пиздатый) and some negative (хуёвый, пиздецовый), we can only explore when the connotation became common, but not why, I guess. Since you are asking about why and not about when, I consider this question answered.

To put it simply, this isn't something specific to Russian and "just because". :)

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Is "terrible" or you meant terrific? –  Alenanno Nov 22 '12 at 16:52
@Alenanno, no, it is exactly "terrible" I'm talking about, in colloquial speech it is quite often used for describing something cool and awesome. –  shabunc Nov 22 '12 at 20:56
Down-vote because: (a) awesome and awful have the same core meaning — awe inspiring (both veneration/reverence, and dread (horrific)), and making a statement about the meaning of words as pertaining to the whole body of language based on informal interpretation without appropriate qualifications is irresponsible; (b) word terrible is never used with positive connotations (unlike informal meaning of terrific); and (c) nothing is “just because”: awesome and terrific gained positive meaning following specific pattern, just as awful and terrible got alternative meaning very. –  theUg Jan 10 '13 at 21:07
@theUg, awesome and awful have completely different meaning de-facto, whether you use or not such word like core meaning; word terrible is used with positive connotations - urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=terrible - check out third meaning. Also, I've heard this word in this very context from native speakers. –  shabunc Jan 11 '13 at 5:51
First of all, urbandictionary.com is a terrible source. As in, bad, not kosher, not authoritative. None of the real dictionaries (OED, M-W and so on) offer that meaning. Secondly, even at UD positive versions are downvoted with a margin of two to one or more. Thirdly, I was around them native speakers (even as terrible as Americans) for twelve years, never heard of such usage. –  theUg Jan 11 '13 at 7:35

Just like in English you can add "fucking" to both "great" and "horrible", in Russian you can use the root хуй to express both positive and negative emotions. The body parts that хуй and пизда refer to are not "bad" or "good", they are just taboo to talk about — that's why, if you do refer to them, your speech becomes more expressive, more extreme; but not necessarily positive or negative.

As for the difference between these words, you got it right that пиздато is positive and хуёво is negative. Пиздец and охуенно, however, can also mean "extremely", or, in case with пиздец, "an extreme situation."


Он пиздец умный! ("He's so fucking clever")

Он охуенно тупой! ("He's so fucking dumb")

Это пиздец как круто! ("It's fucking awesome")

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Welcome to Russian.SE. You provided a good answer, however you seem to have missed the point of the question: "why?" –  Aleks G Nov 22 '12 at 20:53
Thank you. I tried to answer that in the first part: the words derived from roots "хуй" and "пизда" can mean both positive and negative things, because neither "хуй" nor "пизда" are negative or positive. These words are considered taboo, that's why you can use them to make your speech more expressive, more extreme — but you're free to choose if you want it to be extremely negative or extremely positive. –  ruskie.info Nov 22 '12 at 21:28
You might think that you have provided an eyeopener. However, you tell it yourself that the case you condiser is different. Your theory, that profane word = extreem, strong word, does not apply here. The question asks about "охуенно" alone, which always means "good" while "хуёво" always means bad. This has nothing to do with using the word as adjective. Otherwise, you must explain it. You don't do that. Considering alternative question, does not answer the question you give the answer to. You seem do not understand this basic thing. Go to the extreeme direction. –  Val Dec 20 '13 at 12:52

пиздато literally means something like 'cuntush', and is an expression of positive exprience obtained at heterosexual male's genitalia; you might hardly, if ever, hear heterosexual women saying 'пиздато';

хуево literally meas something like 'dicky', or 'prickish', and therefore is an expression of negative feeling of a heterosexual person equipped with male genitalia towards same sex genitalia; it might also have a slight overtone of self-denial;

охуенно is different; it is all about o-prefix (cf. овладеть/овладевать, ополоуметь, одолеть/одолевать, ошеломить/ошеломлять, огрести/огребать, описать/описывать, остепениться, обрести/обретать, etc.), where the prefix has a meaning of 'taking smb/smth over completely, loosing the sense of self-identity', and охуенно stands therefore for smth like 'having almost a sexual pleasure', 'feeling like turning oneself into a one big hard-on'

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Following your logic, then why пиздец usually mean something really bad? –  Aleks G Dec 13 '12 at 19:51
1.Just like Icelandic, Latin or German, the Russian language distinguishes between three genders (Masculine, Faminine and Neuter). Unlike these languages, Russian conveys the sociolinguistical difference in gender, and is, in this respect, more like Chuckchee, Korean or Japanese. –  Manjusri Dec 30 '12 at 19:36
2. To map a world in Russian, one should always make difference between 'male things' and 'woman things', and there are also 'neuter things', which generally stand for indifferent - or, more often, malevolent concepts, forces, objects and the like.These distinctions are marked by grammatical gender and make quite a logical hierarchy... Well, at least for native speakers. –  Manjusri Dec 30 '12 at 19:39
3.A world mapped with Russian language is a world where each and every object has a 'same', 'different' or 'neuter' gender marked by a word-form itself. –  Manjusri Dec 30 '12 at 19:39
4.But пиздец is an abomination of that beautiful Whorfian picture. It is a 'female thing having masculine gender', or 'masculine thing which is feminine' (cf. with English 'b[censored]er' or Old Norse 'ergi'/'argr'). –  Manjusri Dec 30 '12 at 19:39

"пиздато" means good and "хуёво" meand bad because vagina usually brings positive feelings (i.e. if you fuck somebody) while penis usually brings negative feelings (i.e. if somebody fucks you), I think.

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Interesting concept :) –  VisioN Nov 29 '12 at 20:06
If your penis brings negative feelings to your partner, you're not using it correctly. –  ruskie.info Dec 6 '12 at 21:19
@ruskie.info I think the expression was introduced by males. –  Anixx Dec 13 '12 at 20:33

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