I've only ever heard this verb in its perfective form раздобыть, yet the dictionary lists раздобывать as its imperfective. However is it ever used? The only context I could possibly imagine is something like: Здесь долго раздобывают такие вещи на черном рынке. Is that possible?

  • 1
    – Quassnoi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:10
  • "[На то,] чтобы раздобыть это на чёрном рынке, уйдёт вечность" would be fine. This word is rather archaic and changing its form sounds strange. Aug 1, 2016 at 17:59

3 Answers 3


Раздобыть means to get something rare by chance, as opposed to добыть/добывать - by making proper efforts.

Вы не поверите, сегодня я раздобыл для своей коллекции [картину] Айвазовского.

Раздобыть even carries a hidden meaning 'for once' (by strange coincidence, it reminds the expression "как-то раз добыл"). It could explain why the imperfective form раздобывать (meaning some person gets lucky with something all the time) is almost never used and even if used properly (about smth. happening not too often and each time for once) might sound strange (as in your example). Here's my attempt:

Порой ему везло, и он раздобывал для музея что-нибудь удивительное и неожиданное.

  • Thank you for your excellent answer. So the meaning of раздобыть is essentially: to finally manage to get one's hands on something, if I'm not mistaken. Now I understand perfect the aspectual dynamics at play here. Thanks again :)
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:21
  • I would translate you example as: Sometimes he would hit the jackpot and score something remarkable and rare for the museum. Does this sound correct?
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:28
  • 1
    Yes, your translation is correct.
    – Alex_ander
    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:36
  • Alexander you have a great way of explaining things and your English is excellent. I look forward to your future answers to my questions! :)
    – CocoPop
    Jul 28, 2016 at 11:46

However is it ever used?

Though this verb is a "legal" one, I can't think of any good reason to use it.

Здесь долго раздобывают такие вещи на черном рынке. Is that possible?

Not sure why you say "долго" - it seems to have no sense in this context. I'd rather say: "Здесь можно раздобыть такие вещи только на черном рынке" or something like that. So instead of "раздобывать", I believe, one may always say either "добывать" or "можно раздобыть" etc.

  • Thank you for your response. What I was trying to render in Russian (obviously not very successfully:) is that "It takes a long time to get a hold of those things on the black market."
    – CocoPop
    Jul 26, 2016 at 14:47
  • 2
    @CocoPop it’s possible, though is not very “euphonic”: «дворовый пёс прожил всю жизнь, раздобывая пищу». “It takes a long time to get a hold of those things on the black market” could be translated as «Такие вещи [долго] раздобываются [даже] на черном рынке». «Даже» stays to make an expression even stronger here. Jul 26, 2016 at 14:51
  • 2
    @mudasobwa «дворовый пёс прожил всю жизнь, раздобывая пищу» Again, though it's possible but sounds much worse than just "добывая".
    – Matt
    Jul 26, 2016 at 15:28
  • 1
    In my opinion, there is a minor connotation added in «раздобывая»: «добывая пищу» roughly means “working for a food,” while «раздобывая» is closer to “searching for a food.” Plus it’s possible to «добывать пищу» in one single place, while «раздобывать» is more about running around and searching for it. Jul 26, 2016 at 15:59
  • 2
    @CocoPop: такие вещи на чёрном рынке не сразу раздобудешь
    – Quassnoi
    Jul 26, 2016 at 23:01

Your sentence is gramatically correct, but the word "раздобывать" is of informal style, consider using other words if not speaking informally.

  • Thank you, Dmitriy, for your insights. I'm not so much concerned with formality as I am with grammar and syntax. In my opinion, when studying the usage of a language, the informal register is as valid as the formal, if not more, for it reflects the way people express themselves when they're themselves and not putting on airs.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 26, 2016 at 18:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.