Не дворянское это дело тратить на поход в магазин или фитнес-клуб массу времени.

=??? It’s not in a nobleman's nature to spend much time going to a shop or a fitness club.

I assume "дворянское" is the neuter nominative of "дворянский", but does it serve the function of a substantive here with the meaning of "nobleman's" like "mine/yours", with some word implied: "nobleman's (nature/etc)"? That is, instead of an attributive meaning: "nobleman-related" like "my/your"?

I suppose "это дело" serves as the dummy subject corresponding to "it" in English, with the real subject being "тратить ..."?

Can I interpret the sentence more literally as:

Not a nobleman's {substantive}, this thing, to spend much time going to a shop or a fitness club.

If so, should I use the neuter nominative "моё/mine" to express the idea of "It’s not in my nature to do X" or more literally "It’s not mine, this thing, to do X"?

Не моё это дело тратить на поход в магазин или фитнес-клуб массу времени.

Or does the word order of "Не дворянское это дело" come from "Это не дворянское/моё дело" {attributive}?

4 Answers 4


Не дворянское это дело literally means "it's not a nobleman's job", but it's used here as a set phrase meaning "it's beneath you (to spend much time etc.)".

It's more often used as не царское это дело ("it's not a royal's job")

In не моё это дело the idiomatic meaning is lost, so it just has the literal meaning of "it's not my job".

  • I would agree with a lack of an idiomatic meaning. Не моё это дело stands for it's none of my business. Jul 29, 2018 at 8:11

Probably, that's a modification of a more popular expression:

Не барское это дело:


Барин (originally, боярин) - in olden times (like 1.5-2 centuries ago), a higher class man, master to his servants, etc. (often addressed so and referred to by them). Also, барыня (fem.).

The phrase is often used in the meaning 'it's not worth my (his) time and effort, [I'd (he'd) rather hire somebody for that]'. The modification 'не царское...' is typically limited in usage to cases where a real boss is involved. The version 'не дворянское...' can carry a flavour 'it's below one's self-respect, not worth doing at all'.

Speaking of the sense 'It's not in someone's nature...': one can use a more literal expression like мне это занятие не по душе or (мне) не хотелось бы с этим возиться.

  • However, the example of use of "не барское дело" at the link means "this isn't in massa's competence [to seek AND find profit]".
    – yury10578
    Jul 24, 2018 at 8:51

This conversational expression, which is indeed much more popular in the form @Quassnoi points out: "не царское это дело"--"not a job for a tsar", means more precisely "I/you/... won't bother with that" OR even "I/... won't bother [those are sour grapes]".

The expression might come from a vulgar joke, where tsar refuses to get intimate with a girl, on the lines: "not a job for a tsar! but if I order it, she'll get intimated all right".

Or both joke and expression might share the same origin, reflected in the expression's form as in the question. I've never encountered a variant with "дворянское дело", but might have heard a variant with "барское дело"--"massa's job".


“It’s not in someone's nature to do X”

  • Не в его́ нату́ре / хара́ктере / обыкнове́нии де́лать X.
  • Не в мои́х пра́вилах / привы́чках де́лать X.
  • Ему́ несво́йственно де́лать X.

Not a nobleman's {substantive}, this thing, to spend much time going to a shop or a fitness club.

No, дворя́нское is not substantivised, nor does it imply a noun. It is simply an adjective that agrees with the neuter noun де́ло. "Не дворя́нское э́то де́ло" can be parsed in two ways:

  • Э́то (-) не дворя́нское де́ло (This is not a nobleman's affair)
  • Э́то де́ло (-) не дворя́нское (This affair is not nobleman's)

(Normally we don't write the dash for a copula before не.)

  • Thanks for parsing the phrase. This separated structure was exactly what I found puzzling. I suppose "Не дворянское" is pushed forward to emphasise the idea of "whose"? Jul 24, 2018 at 13:35
  • @Con-gras-tue-les-chiens, exactly. Jul 24, 2018 at 13:41

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