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Таких театров повсюду – пруд пруди.

It seems this expression as a whole is used to refer to an extremely large quantity of something, but I'm not sure how to interpret it more literally. Is "пруди" some conjugated form of the verb "прудить"?

пруд пруди = a pond ???

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  • there's another idiom built in this pattern besides two already mentioned here, namely "огород городить", which means "to create something unnecessarily complex or unwieldy" or "to use unnecessarily complicated method to create something", but it's not used in imperative mood – Баян Купи-ка Aug 6 '18 at 19:16
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Apparently this is the etymology: http://uknigi.ru/frazeologia/prud_prudi.html

To summarize, the word пруд used to mean a rapidly flowing body of water, across which people might want to build a dam (запруда), and this latter word eventually gave rise to the current meaning of пруд = pond.

For a dam you need large quantities of material, clay, sand, driftwood, stones, anything will do. Maybe you have so much of something, like theaters in your case, that the worth of it is no greater to you than that of dam-building material and you would build a dam (прудить пруд) out of it without a second thought.

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  • i think it's not about the worth of the material but about its quantity, with which one might build a dam, the modern slangy expression как грязи or как говна, although expressly derogatory still i think points at a quantity, it's just only a consequence that abundant stuff gets devalued or underappreciated – Баян Купи-ка Aug 2 '18 at 20:17
  • Good point. Might be a bit of both though. “У него золота пруд пруди” — does it mean he has enough gold to fill a dam with, or enough gold not to care if this actually happens? – Roman Odaisky Aug 2 '18 at 23:42
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"Прудить" essentially means "make water [collect in significant quantity]" and is a verb stemming from the noun "пруд" meaning "pond".

In old-ish literature you may yet meet "напрудить" as a joking description of little kids pissing all over themselves and people holding them ("Школа" by Гайдар comes to mind).

Also, there's a expression with the same meaning, "гать гатить", with "гать" meaning a wooden road passing through the marshy terrain, and "гатить" being a verb for the process of creating such road.

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  • this is the right answer - "пруди" is verb here – shabunc Aug 2 '18 at 22:28
  • right, didn't notice there's a doubt about the meaning of the noun; will update, thanks – yury10578 Aug 3 '18 at 5:03

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