I see both forms being mentioned as perfective forms of кушать

1 Answer 1


Покушать (or поесть) means to have eaten some unspecified portion of meal, while скушать (or съесть) is for finishing a whole thing (meal or just dish). A pair of examples:

Вы хотите есть? -- Нет, спасибо. Я уже покушал. (i.e. I have eaten [something] already.)
А где мороженое? -- Я его уже скушал. (I ate it already)
Он съел свой обед (He has eaten/finished his lunch)
Попейте молока. Покушайте вот хлебца (Take some milk, eat some bread)

Also note that in Russian they more often use the verb form for "having a meal", e.g.: "(по)завтракать / (по)обедать / (по)ужинать" (to breakfast / to dine / to supper) vs. "съесть завтрак / обед / ужин" (to have breakfast / dinner / supper). Although in this context "съесть" doesn't necessarily imply eating meal a whole, yet it is less popular in speech and sounds a little bookish.

  • 1
    Попейте молока, покушайте вот хлебца. Я заплачу. [Павел Нилин. Интересная жизнь (1969-1980)] [ You can add this point.
    – V.V.
    Aug 6, 2016 at 5:27
  • @V.V. Ok, I have rewritten my answer.
    – Matt
    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:46
  • +1 It's an invitation.
    – V.V.
    Aug 6, 2016 at 6:47
  • 3
    +1. скушать is necessarily transitive ("have this"), покушать is mostly intransitive ("have some meal").
    – Quassnoi
    Aug 6, 2016 at 10:23
  • @Quassnoi скушать is necessarily transitive Except when used in figurative meaning, e.g.: "Ну что, съел?!"
    – Matt
    Aug 6, 2016 at 10:47

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