I am having a hard time trying to get the exact meaning of "криворукий" because the online dictionaries that I tried refuse to translate it. Does it have anything to do with "косорукий"?

The original sentence is: Монтажники - криворукие уроды: вместо того, чтобы просверлить аккуратную дырочку и завести провод в щиток, они просто оторвали щиток от стены и в образовавшуюся щель пропихнули провод.

  • 1
    What dictionaries have you tried? Please, link them in your question.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 18:37
  • I tried lingvo.ru and translate.google.com Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 18:38
  • А еще говорят "руки из задницы растут"
    – user978
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 19:04
  • "Ruki iz zhopy" is the same of it.
    – user984
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 19:20
  • 1
    @Anixx, what does that link prove? There is no translation for this word if you click it. So it's not a general reference, because a general reference is something well known as opposed to this one. Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 22:27

4 Answers 4


It's something in English would mean butterfingered. Here, криво means crooked and рукий is the adjective for hand: handed. So, it expresses a lack of hability to physically perform something.

  • Can also be translated using the funny English (or just American?) expression being all thumbs.
    – Mikhail T.
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 19:47

Обычно не говорят "косорукий" - это словотворчество. Слово "криворукий" - это прилагательное, образованное в результате слияния двух слов "кривой" и "руки". Это негативная характеристика человека, который плохо выполняет определенную работу руками или пальцами. Если он делает что-то неверным образом, нерационально, некачественно, то его обзывают "криворукий". При этом, например, ученого выдвинувшего неверную теорию не назовут криворуким. А вот если ученый разбил чашку, то видевший это может обозвать ученого криворуким.

We don't use the word "косорукий". The word "криворукий" is an adjective formed by two words: "кривой" and "руки". And it's a negative characteristic of a person, who does some work (by hand or by fingers) badly. When he does something wrong, in irrational way or produces something of poor quality he is called "криворукий". It's important to understand, that it's only characteristic for people who made something by hand. For example, nobody can say "криворукий" about the scientist who proposed wrong theory. But someone can say "криворукий", when he see that this scientis has broke his cup.

  • Can you say "неуклюжий" instead? Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 19:23
  • Besides "косорукий" is a valid word according to mr. Ожегов: dic.academic.ru/dic.nsf/ogegova/90478 Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 19:27
  • Which isn't the case for "криворукий" because there is no entry for it in the most dictionaries. Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 19:35
  • 4
    "неуклюжий" is synonym for "криворукий", but there is the difference between them. For example, we can say "неуклюжая походка", but we use "криворукий", when we speak about work, which can be done by hand. About "косорукий" you're right. Vocabulary doesn't lie. "криворукий" and "косорукий" are not synonymous. "косорукий" is physiological characteristic, it's about someone who has one hand shorter than another. But "криворукий" is personal characteristic.
    – user969
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 20:26

If a person did something bad / awry / inaccurately, then they say about him "криворукий". Is a colloquial expression. This expression is made up of the words "curve" and "hand".

  • How do you know it is colloquial? Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 21:03
  • It is not colloquial.
    – Olga
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 12:38
  • 2
    @Olga: I think you are too harsh to Kit. There are gradations of being colloquial. Криворукий is more colloquial than, say, неловкий. Wikipedia: Colloquialisms include words (such as y'all, gonna, and wanna), phrases (such as old as the hills, raining cats and dogs, ... Raining cats and dogs on the axis of colloquialism (разговорности) will be close to криворукий. :-)
    – farfareast
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 17:18
  • 1
    @farfareast Let Kit provide a decent dictionary that calls this word colloquial, and I will agree with you and remove my comment and thank him for extending my knowledge. According to my understanding, this is a normal word. It may not be polite to call someone криворукий, but it is not the same as "colloquial".
    – Olga
    Commented Nov 11, 2012 at 17:45
  • 1
    @Olga: In its direct sense of имеющий кривые руки как физический недостаток, криворукий may indeed be a perfectly normal word. However, in its figurative sense of неловкий, неумелый, it does appear to me more lower-register than either неловкий or неумелый.
    – Andriy M
    Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 2:26

those who can not fix/construct/build/make some stuff... comes from "кривые руки".

  • 2
    Welcome to Russian Language and Usage Beta! Usually we prefer longer and more elaborated answers on short answers. If you can improve your answer by adding detail, context, examples, and backing up with references, this would increase your answer's quality. Poor answers risk being down-voted and subsequently removed.
    – Alenanno
    Commented Nov 10, 2012 at 18:38

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