I continued reading the newspaper and came across the anecdote in which лже Семён was mentioned. Unfortunately I could not find a rule which mentiones when to use псевдо and where to use лже. Is there a pattern or could they simply be used randomly? Thank you in advance!

  • sorry, I can be wrong, but I think that these are "synonyms" and the only way you can "correctly" use them is to have more experience with the Russian language, that is if you read and memorize more, you will be able to use them correctly. I do not think there is any rule for this, it is just a convention. For instance, it would be wrong to say a "псевдо-Дмитрий" to refer to a Russian historic figure.
    – d.k
    Apr 17, 2016 at 23:54
  • 2
    Essentially the same as "false" vs. "pseudo".
    – Matt
    Apr 18, 2016 at 6:02

2 Answers 2


лже is for impersonation (of, say, Tzar) or mimicry (of edible mushroom).

псевдо is for copying form without reproducing essense. Don't think it ever applies to animate being. квази is sometimes used, meaning "unrelated, but essentially the same"

Also, псевдо is greek and лже is slavic; when making complex words, use together roots of same origin: ложноножка, она же псевдоподия.


Лже- in most cases expresses negative attitude (or strong denial of the sense the root of the word usually carries) while псевдо- is rather skeptical and often even neutral, especially when used in engineering and scientific terms where it means 'similar to smth. but strictly speaking, not exactly that thing'. Лженаука (much stronger than псевдонаука which is possible for expression of skepticism towards some theory), лжепророк, but (neutral) псевдоним, псевдостерео, псевдофланец, псевдокогерентный, псевдо-ЭВМ, псевдоуплотнитель and many more such words.

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