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I'm trying to understand part of Путешествие шлюпа «Диана» из Кронштадта в Камчатку, совершенное в 1807, 1808 и 1809 годах. The author Golovnin names a Kamchadal song «Ай, вот тебе хрену, ай вот тебе хрену». I have had limited success understanding its name.

The song is mentioned at least in part because its title is salacious. Do the two Ай have different roles here? What has horseradish to do with sex? My dictionary and Google Translate have been of limited help. The question title includes one crude translation I received from the software.

Text of Golovnin

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  • Where's sex mentioned in the text? I don't see it anywhere, except in that faulty automatic translation.
    – Headcrab
    Sep 18 '18 at 1:26
  • Хрен тебе betekent - je krijgt helemaal niets.
    – WALISIA
    Oct 12 '18 at 21:57
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'Хрен' is just one of the euphemisms for penis. So "хрен тебе" is essentially the same as "хуй тебе". It doesn't have anything to do with horseradish or its taste or its value. Just like 'freak' has nothing to do with 'fuck' or 'shoot' with 'shit'. Merely same first letter and a one-syllable word.

Very roughly translated it will be something like 'Get the funk out' - like that song by Extreme. So naturally, everyone gets what is really meant here, but no actual 'curse' words are used.

'Ай' is comparable to 'oi' or 'hey', it means nothing, just an interjection.

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  • OK, I understand that it's a euphemism, but I don't understand "get the funk out". Sep 19 '18 at 21:28
  • Why, horseradish root has very suggestive appearance, that's why it is used as the euphemism.
    – alamar
    Sep 20 '18 at 16:50
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"Ай" is a meaningless filler word. The word "хрен" literally means "horseradish", a bitter, pungent root vegetable that is not particularly tasty or valuable. In the language it is often euphemistically used as "something cheap, unpleasant or useless" (for example, proverbs like "хрен редьки не слаще"). When you say "а вот хрен тебе", literally it means "here's some horseradish for you", but the intended meaning is more like "no you don't" or "you get nothing". Can't be 100% sure without the context (e. g. the rest of the song), but it seems that "ай вот тебе хрену" is a bit more archaic version of that same phrase. You can read more about хрен here.

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  • Very interesting, хрен appears to have several euphemistic senses. Sep 19 '18 at 21:37

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