I read about a flower which is called "Иван да Марья". I am assuming, that "Иван" and "Марья" are Russian names, since they start with capital letters and "Марья" sounds like an English name "Maria". What does "да" mean though? I know of it as "yes". Does it have other meanings? Because thinking of it as "yes" in this context does not make a lot of sense to me!

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    As a side note, Ivan is derived from Hebrew Yohanan, which in modern English turned to John.
    – bipll
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 15:05
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    For sheer completenes, your particular combination of names can form a specific single word иван-да-марья, which is a (quite common) folk name for some flowers. It is, in a way, an idiom (perhaps because it sounds great). You'll see "да" between any other names less commonly (in favour of the more neutral "и"), or even if you render Марья in a more common way Мария or Маша: "Иван да Маша" sounds somewhat dodgy, like any distorted idiom (though it's formally correct).
    – Zeus
    Commented Aug 6, 2016 at 14:41
  • "да" mean "and" here. punktuaciya.academic.ru/182/да Maria isn't "English" name. "M.A. Kuznetsova and A.S. Reznikova give following interpretation of the origin of the phytonym (the people's naming of the plant) ivan-da-marya [1]. Young people ,a boy and a girl, fell in love with each other dearly, and then got married, not knowing that they were brother and sister. And when they found out about this, so as not to be separated, they turned into flowers - ivan-da-marya, painted in different colors. Since then, this flower has become a symbol of fidelity. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 9:58
  • ____ The flower were сollecting for the holiday of Ivan Kupala. It was credited with magical properties: “Whoever wants to gallop away from a pursuit or fly valiantly on a nag, carry the Ivan-da-Marya flower with him. Others drunk the juice squeezed out of this flower, to return hearing or return lost mind ”[2]. " Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 9:58

3 Answers 3


The word "Да" has got various functions in Russian.

  1. In your example

Иван да Марья (Иван и Марья)

it is a conjunction which means "и". As a conjunction it can also mean "но" ("but")

Солнце светит, да не греет ("The sun is shining, but it isn't warm").

In this case we put a comma in front of "да".

2.As a particle "да" can denote agreement.

-- Вы говорите по-русски?" ("Do you speak Russian?)

-- Да. ("Yes, I do").

It can also express being surprised:

-- Я говорю по-русски. ("I speak Russian.")

--Да ладно? ("Really?")

It can also mean "by the way" when it is at the beginning of the sentence.

Да, совсем забыл, напиши ему письмо. ("By the way, I forgot to tell you, write him a letter.")

As a particle it helps to form imperative sentences.

Да будет так!("Let it be so!" if translated literary, but that's also one of the possible translations of "Amen!")

Or like here:

Да здравствует свобода!(Long live freedom! )

It can be used for putting emphasis on a sentence.

Да не хочу я ничего! ("I don't want anything!", a bit stronger than just "Не хочу я ничего!" which would be translated in English in the same way)

  • So what is the origin of the word?)
    – VCH250
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 20:03
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    Etymology. Originated from Old Slavonic *da.. Related to Indo-European pronoun do- díns), compared to Greek δή, ἐπειδή «итак, после того, как», ἤδη «уже», Latin dēnique «с этих пор, затем», dōnec «до тех пор, пока». See Фасмер.Этимологический словарь русского языка.
    – V.V.
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 20:41

"Да" means "and" in this case, so it's Ivan and Maria (see also "тишь да гладь", "вокруг да около").

Sometimes it can also mean "but": Я старался, да не смог - I tried but I couldn't (do that).

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    I think, it would be nice to specify here which exactly of meanings of the word "but" is discussed. :-/
    – bipll
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 15:21
  • @bipll What different meanings of "but" in my example you can think of?
    – Abakan
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 16:00
  • So is it specification by example?
    – bipll
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 16:29
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    @bipll So is it question dodging?
    – Abakan
    Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 16:36

"Да" means "and" in this case. But its outdated form, now we usually don't use "да" in means of "and"

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