Literally it means maybe "just what they need". But it is supposed to bear an ironic meaning, I guess. Right?

  • 1
    it's not slang, it's a commonly used idiom – Quassnoi Oct 13 '15 at 20:17
  • @Quassnoi's answer is not complete: "так [им/ему/ей/вам/мне/...] и надо" is ALWAYS ironic. It's definitely not a good idea to say this after smth like "they are getting married" :) – Mikant Oct 24 '15 at 18:04
  • @Mikant: hi and welcome to Russian.SE! What exactly in my answer would suggest such a usage? – Quassnoi Oct 24 '15 at 20:43
  • @Quassnoi, your answer is ok, but there's only a translation of the idiom which imo doesn't answer the real question: But it is supposed to bear an ironic meaning, I guess. Right? – Mikant Oct 25 '15 at 22:40
  • @Mikant: I don't think it's any more ironic than "they had it coming" or "serves them right". – Quassnoi Oct 26 '15 at 7:16

It means "they deserve it" (of a bad thing), "they had it coming", "it serves them right".

This passage from "The Brothers Karamazov" by Dostoyevsky:

— Сумасшедший, ведь ты убил его! — крикнул Иван. — Так ему и надо! — задыхаясь, воскликнул Дмитрий.

in English translation reads:

‘Madman! You’ve killed him!’ cried Ivan. ‘Serve him right!’ shouted Dmitri breathlessly.

  • Useful to note: translation by Constance Garnett. – Victor Bazarov Oct 13 '15 at 20:36

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