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Update: To put it simply, what I am looking for is a Russian word or expression that combines three things together: (1) inconsiderate (that is, not careful to avoid harm to others), (2) meddlesome (that is, getting involved in situations where he is not wanted or which are none of his business), and (3) asshole (that is, arrogant, non-emphatic, insensitive, etc.). For details, read my original text below.


I cannot find a precise Russian word for a specific kind of person or personality trait and am humbly asking for your help. Let me describe a few situations to explain what personality trait or kind of person I mean.

  • Situation 1: A girl climbs on a high diving tower in order to enjoy a view of the lake. There a guy starts trying to persuade her to jump into the water. The girl is highly reluctant, but the guy is persistent and explains that jumping into the water will bring unforgettable emotions. Being unable to persuade her, the guy physically pushes her from the tower, deliberately making her fall into the water. The girl falls from the great height, screaming as if she were watching a horror movie. She surfaces from the water and feels extremely angry, as she strongly disliked the experience, was not psychologically prepared at all, and did not want to get her hair wet. The guy laughs, "You had to try it. Told ya, it's easier than you thought."

  • Situation 2: A student is preparing a small party for her colleagues in a research institute on the occasion of her graduation and brings a few bottles of expensive champagne to the institute for the party. Having little time left before the party, she puts the bottles to the freezer of a fridge at the institute in order to cool them on time. A few minutes before the party she returns to the fridge to take the bottles and does not find them in the freezer - they are in the main compartment of the fridge and have not been cooled at all. The girl is totally frustrated. The cleaning guy, who is unaware of the party, comes in and says, "Champagne does not belong in the freezer. How could you not know this? How could you not realize that it would get frozen within a few hours? I put it where it belongs."

  • Situation 3: A PhD student feels she was somewhat mistreated by her professor, and tells a friend about it. The guy says he will go to the professor and explain him how wrong he is. The girl asks the guy not to do it, because she is afraid that things might go very wrong. Yet the guy nevertheless approaches the professor some days later. A verbal argument starts between them and quickly escalates. The result is that the professor feels deeply offended and finds a formal pretext to stop supervising the girl. She is in deep trouble and has to look for another supervisor and start her PhD project over. She would happily accept occasional slight mistreatment instead, but it is too late.

I humbly hope you now understand what kind of people I mean. The guy causes harm or trouble or inconvenience, believing he knows better. He is closed-minded, has little empathy, and disregards the opinions of others. He is ignorant of the details and circumstances of the situation, but is quick to intervene. He has a big ego and feels entitled to decide for others what is best for them. He is not evil and has no bad intent, and he is not stupid either and may even excel in his studies or at his work, but he pays little attention to concerns or intents of others and is not used to giving thought to how his actions will actually impact others. He has a rigid way of thinking, is quick to make decisions, and is persistent and stubborn in executing them, sometimes to the extent of ignoring explicit protests or warnings by others.

My question is this: what words or brief expressions are there in the Russian language for such people? The more precise the better. I want to learn not only high register words, but also colloquial and even rude words. I especially want to learn very clear words that will cause deep understanding on an emotional level.

  • What about Japanese - what are Japanese counterparts? It usually work better when you do have some word or phrase in your mind in one language and want to find something similar in another language. Coming up with 3 contrived situations and asking to describe some phenomena in Russian is well, arguable. – shabunc May 31 at 9:27
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    Your two situations are quite different. In first one, the recipient of the “help” actively declines it, so the “helper” is even malicious, trying to show his power over others. In the second one the guy is well-meaning (the bottles would break if left to freeze). The current top answer, «медвежья услуга», is very appropriate for second situation, but the first one requires something different, I need to think more for words more specific than generic “You bastard!” – Neith May 31 at 13:46
  • @shabunc : Yes, mea culpa. I see that people did not get my question right. It is my fault. We have numerous expressions in Japanese, with some of them being as rude as クソ野郎, but I do not think that Japanese expressions will help, as you do not speak Japanese and do not see subtleties of meanings of Japanese words and expressions. In English, the expression closest to what I am looking for is something like "an inconsiderate meddlesome asshole." This is basically what I am looking for. – Mitsuko May 31 at 14:13
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    with some of them being as rude as クソ野郎 - yeah, but do those names "with subtleties of meanings" contain the reason why the addressee is being called that name? There are lots of rude words in Russian too, e.g. for situation 1 the guy deserves to be called мудак/редкостный мудак. This, however, only indicates that the guy is strongly disliked by the person who uses this definition towards him but it gives no clue on why is he disliked. And indeed your 3 scenarios are too different to come up with any generalized word. – tum_ May 31 at 14:40
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    @БаянКупи-ка The first situation happened with me, although the diving tower was not very high. The second situation is, in essence, an incident I read about in a Russian book about the Tsushima battle. The incident was related to a party on a battleship, and I reworded it to make it look more modern. The third situation is similar to what happened with a friend of mine. I changed some details to make it more drastic in order to better express the idea. – Mitsuko May 31 at 15:28
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Not about the person, but about the situation:
Медвежья услуга, оказать медвежью услугу — When someone tries to help, do it the way he thinks will be better, but it turns out only worse.

  • Thanks a lot, this is an interesting and very useful expression. But yes, I am interested how I can call such people. Also, this kind of person is not really driven by any desire to help others. He interferes rather for self-affirmation, sometimes behaving like a boss. – Mitsuko May 31 at 14:36
  • If he really wanted to help, he would think better. The very reason why he causes trouble is that his real motivation is rather self-affirmation or to position himself as the leader rather than to really help. So he does not really think much how he could help in the best way. He is simply quick to interfere. – Mitsuko May 31 at 14:40
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You probably could use:

Каждой бочке затычка.

Он каждой бочке затычка.

This expression basically means someone excessively active, who try to help others, even if they don't want it.

https://ru.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D0%BA%D0%B0%D0%B6%D0%B4%D0%BE%D0%B9_%D0%B1%D0%BE%D1%87%D0%BA%D0%B5_%D0%B7%D0%B0%D1%82%D1%8B%D1%87%D0%BA%D0%B0

  • Thanks, this is an interesting idiomatic expression, I am glad to learn it. What I am looking for is rather a word or expression for an inconsiderate meddlesome asshole. – Mitsuko May 31 at 15:21
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I believe непрошеный помощник satisfies all 3 of your requirements. Непрошеный here have negative connotations, it may mean both “not asked for” and “actively declined” help. However, the words are not very strong, if you want to express strong negative emotions, you may want to add some generic curses.

Медвежья услуга also means help which made thing worse, but it does not necessary imply pushiness. It may even mean help which was asked for.

As for being pushy, you may look at words назойливый, навязчивый and their synonyms, though they are not limited to offers of help.

And finally, you may have to accept that Russian does not have an idiom which is both precise enough and widely known.

2

There are two Russian set phrases which come to my mind.

They might not describe exactly the kind of the personality traits you're after, but I think they're close enough.

  1. Унтер Пришибеев

This is the protagonist of Chekhov's eponymous short story (extended spoilers below) who is standing trial for insult and battery. He's a retired law enforcement officer who thinks that law enforcement is still his duty. He is laying down his law in the village he lives in, abusing the power he does not have in the first place and taking police functions upon himself. He thinks that the peasants he's living among are not educated enough to have their own opinions and it's his duty to guide them. When he's convicted, he's honestly confused and does not understand what the big deal is.

  1. Синдром вахтёра

This literally means "gatekeeper's syndrome".

It describes a control freak who has some little power over people (say, serves as a gatekeeper or as a guard or as a small manager) and tries to abuse this power to the best of their ability.

If they're the proverbial gatekeeper, they would make sure to require a photo id and spend a good minute comparing your face to the photo; if they are a team manager they would micromanage to the lowermost level and deny you any kind of agency etc.

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    «Унтер Пришибеев» is quite literary, I’d not expect to hear it in colloquial speech. And «синдром вахтёра» is about not allowing someone to do something, not about uninvited help. – Neith May 31 at 13:51
  • Thanks a lot, these two idiomatic expressions are very interesting. By the way, there is a related English idiom: like an elephant in a china store. What I am looking for is a word or expression for an intrusive, meddlesome guy who behaves like an elephant in a china store once he intervenes. – Mitsuko May 31 at 18:16
  • @Mitsuko We also use "как слон в посудной лавке" (probably, from the same origin as the English one). I don't, however, feel that it fits your description... I mean, it partially fits, yeah, but requires some details to be added to clarify what you mean by this. E.g. the same phrase is used for an awkward person who literally breaks stuff around him/her. – tum_ May 31 at 19:18
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Speaking about the situation, not the person, you can cite "хотели как лучше, а получилось как всегда" ("We wanted to do as well as we could, but it went as always")

2

Here we go, this is just in addition to what other people answered:

what I am looking for is a Russian word or expression that combines three things together: ...

As you can see from other answers/comments there is little hope finding a perfect match you are looking for. A single word is definitely out of question. As to "an expression" - it would have to be made up similarly to what you've done for your English example: "an inconsiderate meddlesome asshole."

A direct translation from English is a problem because:

inconsiderate gives:

  1. неосмотрительный
  2. опрометчивый
  3. невнимательный к другим
  4. необдуманный

where only 3. arguably covers your usage and as you can see it's not a single adjective but a phrase.

meddlesome is even more problematic:

  1. надоедливый, навязчивый
  2. вмешивающийся в чужие дела

where 1. does not quite fit your case and 2. again is a whole phrase on its own.

Note: I used Google Translate for the above just for the purpose of demonstration, I know that better variants of translation can probably be found given some effort (anyone, feel free to suggest your variants).

asshole is easy - almost any option for "bad guy" will fit, you can make your choice depending on the strength of the emotion you want to express: кретин, болван, дурак, идиот, дебил and so on...

So, no easy answers, no idiomatic phrases for such a narrow meaning that you want to express (apart from those already suggested by others).

I'll offer a phrase that you are most likely to meet in "old-fashioned" books to describe such a person: самоуверенный кретин, который вечно лезет не в свои дела! or ...лезет, куда его не просят and numerous variations of it.

However, as I (and others) already mentioned in comments, your three "situations" are very different and the above phrase will definitely not fit for situation 1, for example.

The low register, colloquial phrases will be based on the same principle, just use low register words, swear words etc. I will refrain from examples :)

  • Thanks a lot for such a detailed answer. I always enjoy reading detailed enlightening explanations. I am very much puzzled why you consider the three situations very different. To me they are essentially the same. – Mitsuko May 31 at 16:54
  • In Situation 2, the guy did not make even a slightest effort to think. It is so obvious that if you see champagne bottles in the freezer, someone is most likely trying to quickly cool them. The guy simply does not ask himself the why questions. It is a closed-minded mentality. He acts on his instincts, making harm to others. – Mitsuko May 31 at 17:02
  • If he had thought at least a little bit, he would have concluded that either someone wanted to quickly cool the bottles or, much less likely, the owner of the bottles was silly enough to assume that it is okay to store the bottles in the freezer for a long period of time. The cleaning guy was staying at the institute and could simply check the fridge some time later to see whether the bottles remained in the freezer. – Mitsuko May 31 at 17:08
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    As you mentioned the word мудак in your comment above, I just searched for exact definitions and found this: мудак — это такой дурак, от действий которого более страдают окружающие, нежели он сам. ... Внутренне убеждён, что любое действие оправдывается мотивом, и если он не хотел ничего плохого, так он и не сделал ничего плохого. (Link: lurkmore.to/…) This definition highly resonates with what I am looking for. Is it a good single-word solution? – Mitsuko May 31 at 17:59
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    Yes and no ) It fits well for the description you gave and this is why I used it in the first place. But this does not work in the opposite direction - you can't just say: "Вася Пупкин? Он же мудак." and expect everyone to understand what you mean precisely. You've quoted a "definition" from lurkmore but actually the whole page is an attempt to describe what mudak is :) As they say: "Мудак — понятие недоопределенное, хотя чрезвычайно емкое. Тем не менее, можно предложить такое рабочее определение:" then your quote follows. And I hope you realise that lurkmore is not exactly a serious resource. – tum_ May 31 at 21:10
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My two cents: всезнайка, надоеда.

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