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I came across some words chatting with my friend (he's a native speaker). What's the difference between пиздато, охуенно, хуёво and пиздец? The first two words have a positive meaning but хуёво and пиздец are negative. Why? They derive from the same words, don't they?

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    We Russians asking ourselves same questions: f.e. famous joke: Почему хуево - это плохо, а пиздато - это хорошо? Но главное, почему пиздец - это хуже, чем хуево, а охуенно - это лучше, чем пиздато? Nov 23 '12 at 13:27
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    Note: all the terms in question are profanity words.
    – Vi.
    Dec 13 '12 at 12:18
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    Just to reiterate, make sure you never ever use any of those words in practice. If you do by accident, just explain that you are a foreigner. In many cases, especially a job interview, a date, etc., one such word could well be the end of the conversation.
    – osa
    Oct 12 '13 at 22:24
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    In english you have "too few" to mean scarcity but "quite a few" means "a lot". Why? Because these languages are fucking inconsistent.
    – Val
    Dec 20 '13 at 12:37
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    Tempting answer: Да хуй его знает, хуйня какая-то....
    – Arioch
    Jul 2 '18 at 9:23
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This is similar to the following question about English: "Why does awesome mean great but awful mean something horrible?". The short answer is that the fact that a pair of words is derived from a common root does not mean that these words do not have opposite meaning. Moreover, the same word in different contexts can stand for completely different concepts.

For example, the word terrible in colloquial speech can be interpreted as "formidably great" - compare to ужасно круто / ты ужасно красива. Recall the English usage of fucking: it is used to indicate an extreme degree of something, either positive or negative.

As for why exactly some forms acquire positive connotation (охуенный, пиздатый) and some negative (хуёвый, пиздецовый), we can only explore when the connotation became common, but not why, I guess. Since you are asking about why and not about when, I consider this question answered.

To put it simply, this isn't something specific to Russian and "just because". :)

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    Is "terrible" or you meant terrific?
    – Alenanno
    Nov 22 '12 at 16:52
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    @Alenanno, no, it is exactly "terrible" I'm talking about, in colloquial speech it is quite often used for describing something cool and awesome.
    – shabunc
    Nov 22 '12 at 20:56
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    Down-vote because: (a) awesome and awful have the same core meaning — awe inspiring (both veneration/reverence, and dread (horrific)), and making a statement about the meaning of words as pertaining to the whole body of language based on informal interpretation without appropriate qualifications is irresponsible; (b) word terrible is never used with positive connotations (unlike informal meaning of terrific); and (c) nothing is “just because”: awesome and terrific gained positive meaning following specific pattern, just as awful and terrible got alternative meaning very.
    – theUg
    Jan 10 '13 at 21:07
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    First of all, urbandictionary.com is a terrible source. As in, bad, not kosher, not authoritative. None of the real dictionaries (OED, M-W and so on) offer that meaning. Secondly, even at UD positive versions are downvoted with a margin of two to one or more. Thirdly, I was around them native speakers (even as terrible as Americans) for twelve years, never heard of such usage.
    – theUg
    Jan 11 '13 at 7:35
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    @theUg, вы поставили минус и объяснили почему, я тоже объяснил. Ну слышал я это слово в разговоре с англоязычными людьми, ну вот хоть тресни. А ссылка на M-W - это, конечно, весело, там, знаете ли много чего нет.
    – shabunc
    Jan 11 '13 at 7:41
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Just like in English you can add "fucking" to both "great" and "horrible", in Russian you can use the root хуй to express both positive and negative emotions. The body parts that хуй and пизда refer to are not "bad" or "good", they are just taboo to talk about — that's why, if you do refer to them, your speech becomes more expressive, more extreme; but not necessarily positive or negative.

As for the difference between these words, you got it right that пиздато is positive and хуёво is negative. Пиздец and охуенно, however, can also mean "extremely", or, in case with пиздец, "an extreme situation."

Consider:

Он пиздец умный! ("He's so fucking clever")

Он охуенно тупой! ("He's so fucking dumb")

Это пиздец как круто! ("It's fucking awesome")

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    Welcome to Russian.SE. You provided a good answer, however you seem to have missed the point of the question: "why?"
    – Aleks G
    Nov 22 '12 at 20:53
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    Thank you. I tried to answer that in the first part: the words derived from roots "хуй" and "пизда" can mean both positive and negative things, because neither "хуй" nor "пизда" are negative or positive. These words are considered taboo, that's why you can use them to make your speech more expressive, more extreme — but you're free to choose if you want it to be extremely negative or extremely positive. Nov 22 '12 at 21:28
  • You might think that you have provided an eyeopener. However, you tell it yourself that the case you condiser is different. Your theory, that profane word = extreem, strong word, does not apply here. The question asks about "охуенно" alone, which always means "good" while "хуёво" always means bad. This has nothing to do with using the word as adjective. Otherwise, you must explain it. You don't do that. Considering alternative question, does not answer the question you give the answer to. You seem do not understand this basic thing. Go to the extreeme direction.
    – Val
    Dec 20 '13 at 12:52
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пиздато literally means something like 'cuntish', and is an expression of positive experience obtained by a heterosexual male's genitalia; you might hardly, if ever, hear heterosexual women saying 'пиздато';

хуево literally meas something like 'dicky', or 'prickish', and therefore is an expression of negative feeling of a heterosexual person equipped with male genitalia towards same sex genitalia; it might also have a slight overtone of self-denial;

охуенно is different; it is all about the o-prefix (cf. овладеть/овладевать, ополоуметь, одолеть/одолевать, ошеломить/ошеломлять, огрести/огребать, описать/описывать, остепениться, обрести/обретать, etc.), where the prefix has a meaning of 'taking smb/smth over completely, losing the sense of self-identity', and охуенно stands therefore for smth like 'having almost a sexual pleasure', 'feeling like turning oneself into a one big hard-on'

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    Following your logic, then why пиздец usually mean something really bad?
    – Aleks G
    Dec 13 '12 at 19:51
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    1.Just like Icelandic, Latin or German, the Russian language distinguishes between three genders (Masculine, Faminine and Neuter). Unlike these languages, Russian conveys the sociolinguistical difference in gender, and is, in this respect, more like Chuckchee, Korean or Japanese.
    – Manjusri
    Dec 30 '12 at 19:36
  • 2. To map a world in Russian, one should always make difference between 'male things' and 'woman things', and there are also 'neuter things', which generally stand for indifferent - or, more often, malevolent concepts, forces, objects and the like.These distinctions are marked by grammatical gender and make quite a logical hierarchy... Well, at least for native speakers.
    – Manjusri
    Dec 30 '12 at 19:39
  • 3.A world mapped with Russian language is a world where each and every object has a 'same', 'different' or 'neuter' gender marked by a word-form itself.
    – Manjusri
    Dec 30 '12 at 19:39
  • 4.But пиздец is an abomination of that beautiful Whorfian picture. It is a 'female thing having masculine gender', or 'masculine thing which is feminine' (cf. with English 'b[censored]er' or Old Norse 'ergi'/'argr').
    – Manjusri
    Dec 30 '12 at 19:39
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"пиздато" means good and "хуёво" meand bad because vagina usually brings positive feelings (i.e. if you fuck somebody) while penis usually brings negative feelings (i.e. if somebody fucks you), I think.

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    Interesting concept :)
    – VisioN
    Nov 29 '12 at 20:06
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    If your penis brings negative feelings to your partner, you're not using it correctly. Dec 6 '12 at 21:19
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    @ruskie.info I think the expression was introduced by males.
    – Anixx
    Dec 13 '12 at 20:33
  • @Anixx ответа на исходный вопрос тут нет: так все-таки, почему в таком случае слово "охуенно" означает что-то хорошее? Aug 2 '18 at 12:21
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In addition to comprehensive answers provided above, I would like to add examples when nouns хуй and пизда (specifically in singular, nominative case) can be used to express negative meaning.

Хуй can be used to denote failure to obtain something or strong refusal:

Думаешь, они мне заплатили? А вот хуй! - You think they paid me? Fuck no!

Хотел пойти погулять. Хуй там! Пошёл такой дождь, что пришлось вернуться. - I wanted to go for a walk. Like fuck I could! It started raining so [hard], I had to go back.

Хочешь денег? Хуй тебе! You want some money [from me]? You get nothing, fuck you!

Пизда means something broke, or there are inevitable grim consequences ahead.

Моей машине пизда – двигатель сломался. My car is fucked up, its engine is broken.

Ну всё, урод, тебе пизда. Game over asshole, [I] will fuck you up.

Он разозлил начальника, теперь ему пизда. He made the boss angry, he's in deep shit now.

Also there are stable combinations like накрыться пиздой / пойти по пизде - this usually describes a technical device that started to malfunction so seriously it can't be fixed. At least, not without much trouble:

Телевизор накрылся пиздой / Телевизор пошёл по пизде.

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All previous answers miss the point. Охуенный and хуёвый mean different things because they are so similar to отменный and дерьмовый.

Somebody took the adjective отменный and made the taboo word охуенный. Somebody else took the adjective дерьмовый and made the taboo word хуёвый.

There is also word опизденный which means the same as охуенный.

Пиздец is made from конец (тебе конец -> тебе пиздец). In one OS made in one of the Soviet computation centers in mid '80s, there were, among others, two commands: КОН, exit either from the current command/subsystem or from the whole system, and ПИЗ, immediate exit from all subsystems and from the system, no matter what.

Пиздатый is made from поддатый (slightly drunk). Since it feels good to be in that state, the word пиздатый means something good. Another word for becoming drunk is захорошеть.

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Wonderful question!

Firstly I must say that foul language in Russia is much richer than in English. This is connected with opportunity of constucting new words adding diffrent parts to them.

In English there are examples with adding prepositions (and other words) to verbs. "Give up", "give away", "give out". Or "put": "put off", "put on", "put back". I really sure you have a lot of examples in your head.

In Russian we have a two main opportunities to make new words.

  1. With additives. "Крыть" - to make house's roof. Or criticize someone. But "прикрыть" - is another word. It means to cover a mate (not only this meaning). "Закрыть" - close something (or someone to prison). "Накрыть" - to cover the tablecloth or to beat youth emo if you and your friends are punks and you have nothing to do. "Скрыть" - to hide something, the truth, for example.

  2. With suffixes. "Дело" - a deal. "Дельный" - something useful for a deal, this is adjective now. "Деловой" - somebody who looks or trying to look like somebody who have a lot of business in his life.

  3. And, of course, combinations of additives amd suffixes.

The "problem" is that sometimes (not too often) new variations of words can get a special meaning that not directly related to a word that gives a root for them.

I gave some examples above. Here's a one more: "красный" - red. "красивый" - beautiful.

It's really not so easy to remember some good examples "at gunpoint". And I assure you that most of the Russian language works according to certain rules.

But there are a lot exeptions that came to us during evolution of the language. I'm sure there will be a bit of difficulty to explain why "синий" means blue and a drunk person at the same time.

...

And now let's talk about your definite question.

I am ashamed of the russians because having so special language, having so many tools for constructing words, having so deep and old culture we have used all these potential to make SO MANY swear words that it scares me.

There are three "main" words that creates the whole range of swear words: "хуй" (a cock), "пизда" (a pussy) and "ебать" (to fuck). And there are few more but less important: "блядь" (a whore) and "пидорас" (a fag).

These five "great" words can be used to say LITERALLY EVERYTHING you can imagine. This is there diseased psyche of Russians don't stop to continue to generate more and more words.

It seems we, russians, don't need other words at all.

And there is no exactly rules that are working here. We use all possible combinations here and the result can not be predicted.

Only "russian soul" with power of context of what've been said can understand the meaning of "new words".

"Пи'здить" - to stole. "Пизди'ть" - to lie. You see, we can use even new style of stress to make new words here.

"Охуенно" - very good. "Хуёво" - bad. "Да похуй" - all OK, nothing can be said here. "Нихуя нового" - nothing new. "Ты ебанёшься, когда узнаешь" - you will gone crazy when I tell it to you. "Хули надо?" - I don't want to answer your quetions.

This is just a few examples for answers a question "Как дела?" (How are you).

WE HAVE SUCH A CHOISE FOR ANY QUESTION!!! And the same words will have different meaning for different quetions. All what is important - context and speaker's emotions.

So, I think nobody know for sure the origins of some examples. They seemed to have always been. They seem to flow through our veins. They are our shame as a nation.

...

No any words construction rules can explain russian foul speach. So nobody can answer your quetion.

But is it our curse?

Studies have been conducted that have proven that "russian strong words" made a great help during all wars. Generals didn't needed something special when there was need to explain the order quickly, defenite and so emotional that the soldier, on pain of death, was afraid of him to stumble.

Sometimes people need a tool to express emotions. "Да заебало меня всё!" - this works great. Shout it loud and you will feel relief.

But I beg you - don't use it aimlessly. Idle chat, family, work - not the right place to use "strong words". Because they are really strong. And only the one who know how to use this "tool" will make a benefit for himself. And I assure you - such a person uses it extremely rare.

So:

  1. It's "strong" but "dirty" words.
  2. Don't use it aimlessly.
  3. They can help to express emotions.
  4. But it's rude and unacceptably in common life.
  5. They can be used to say literally everything.
  6. And due to (5) there are no language rules for these words' birth.

Hope it was helpful. Good luck!

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    I believe you being down-voted is because you are not answering the question.
    – shabunc
    Feb 6 at 17:35

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