In my understanding, "вялотекущая" means having a slow flux. This you would literally associate with rather with a river, but no -

  1. вялотекущая шизофрения - ОK
  2. вялотекущая река - NOT OK

Why? I understand that language can be quite irrational, but my question is - maybe in this special case there is indeed some crazy logic behind these cases?

  • 2
    Who down votes stuff like this? It's a perfectly valid question.
    – VCH250
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 0:10
  • @VCH250 I've made myself quite an alibi, haven't I? Well, the passive-aggressiveness does seep through admittedly, but I tried as much as I could to compartmentalise. "Crazy logic." Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 9:50

3 Answers 3


Ever heard of wholes being greater than the sums of their parts? Crazy, huh?

Вялотекущая is not the same as вяло текущая. The former is a medical term and was coined (or, if you like, glued together) as such. Вяло текущая река is fine.

  • "Вяло текущая река" - formally the phrase is valid, but actually its meaning isn't. Not sure I'm right, but I think it wouldn't be very good to say "lazy river" in English?
    – Qwertiy
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 11:01
  • @Qwertiy For what it's worth, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazy_river Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 15:53
  • Anyway, it's not about water speed :)
    – Qwertiy
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 16:35

If you will say Вяло текущая река in the context of river, say, standing on the bank of river - your friends may consider you to be a witty person. I think i should remember this for a good reason.


1) Мы увлеклись игрой. Время текло незаметно. 2) Ничто не нарушало размеренного течения его жизни. 3) Его жизнь текла размеренно и спокойно. 4) Врач рассказал, как протекает болезнь пациента 5) Процессы, протекающие в атмосфере... 7) Переговоры протекали трудно.

"Течь, протекать" is property of water, time, any process. Disease is a process too. ...............

The word ВЯЛО has "distant relatives": ВЯНУТЬ, УВЯДАНИЕ. An adverb "вяло" can only refer to the actions of an animate subject.

Он вяло улыбнулся — ОК

Он вяло махнул рукой — ОК

Камень катится вяло — not OK

Ветер дует вяло — not OK

Река течет вяло — not OK

For some time nоw there is a phrase "вялотекущий процесс". But it is only suitable for social or biological processes.

  • this does not answer the question
    – shabunc
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 8:02

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