Could you please describe situation, when one word should be used instead of other?

3 Answers 3


Заход солнца only means the descent of the sun below the horizon (or the time of it).

But Закат has all the meanings which the word Sunset has:

  1. the descent of the sun
  2. what the sky looks like, when the sun goes down
  3. the final stage (figurative)
  4. the west (metaphor)

So when talking about astronomy, we usually say заход солнца (though закат солнца is OK too) but in all other cases it's simply закат.

It's also worth noting that both закат, заход and запад (the west) are made by the same pattern: roll beyond, go beyond and fall beyond respectively. But based on its meaning only закат appears to be a highly poetic word. A couple of examples from the well-known songs:

Звезда надежды благодатная,
Звезда любви волшебных дней.
Ты будешь вечно незакатная
В душе тоскующей моей.
from the romance "Shine, shine, my star", words by V. Tchuevsky

Лишь по небу тихо
Сползла погодя
На бархат заката
Слезинка дождя...
from "Grenada" by M. Svetlov

Мимо белого яблока луны,
Мимо красного яблока заката,
Облака из неведомой страны,
К нам спешат и опять бегут куда-то.
from children's song "Beside moon's white apple...", words by S. Kozlov

  • 2
    Not "the West" (which usually means Europe and North America) but "the west", e.g. direction where the Sun sets.
    – Abakan
    Commented Oct 14, 2015 at 6:59

В переносном смысле используется "закат":

На закате своей карьеры он...

. В прямом (когда речь идёт о солнце) они равноупотребимы.

When speaking figuratively, use "закат". When speaking of the astronomical event, they are interchangeable.

Also, there is another meaning of "заход", having to do with navigation ("круиз по Карибскому морю с заходом на Кубу"), there you'd not use 'закат', of course.


Word for word meaning:

Закат ~ Rolldown / Rollback - property of rolling - заКАТ - катиться
Заход ~ Turndown / Turnback - property of common case turing - заХОД - ходить

Semantic meaning:

Закат - is more lyric
Заход - is more pragmatic

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