If someone would be so kind as to answer this question, I would be grateful: In American English we have a phrase "playing chicken" to indicate people or groups opposing each other on a collision course, whereby one or both groups would change course to prevent collision. In other word, they "chicken out."

Is there an equivalent phrase in Russian? If there is would you be so kind as to give me the non-Cyrillic spelling and pronunciation.


4 Answers 4


There no idiomatic expression for this game that I'm aware of.

Usually it's translated using кто первый струсит (kto pervyy strusit, [KTO PEHR-viy STROO-sit]), literally "who quails first".


A slanguish variant is "сдрейфить" (which is derived from the nautical(!) term 'drift'. BTW. It's from Dutch, not from English). So this could be "кто сдрейфит" (kto zdreifit - who drifts). Though again it's not really the same as "turning aside".

A bookish variant is "праздновать труса". So this could be "кто празднует труса" (kto praznuiet troosa - who celebrates a coward). But this one is not popular and you may look like a true bookworm.

A neutral (but boring) option is "кто струсит" (kto stroosit).


To chicken out is струсить or ,if you need idioms, выйти из игры (vyiti iz igry,which means to leave tbe game or пойти на попятный(poiti na popiatnyi),which means to make a step back.

To chicken out means to avoid something because of fear. http://dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/eng_rus/651244/out

  • 1
    пойти на попятный As "chicken out" ultimately means "to turn aside", translating it as "пойти на попятный" looks particularly wrong.
    – Matt
    Jul 19, 2016 at 4:22
  • when I hear пойти на попятный or выйти из игры I will never think of anything similar to the situation described by the OP, so I consider this wrong to suggest this idioms in an answer to the question
    – d.k
    Jul 19, 2016 at 16:55
  • 2
    Речь идет об идиоме chicken out, о ее соответствии в русском языке, а Вы о чем?
    – V.V.
    Jul 19, 2016 at 17:53

There were few other versions in 1980s action movies translations: игра в "слабачка", e.g.

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