Wiktionary defines the verb "понаехать" as follows:

наехать, приехать во множестве, в большом числе

This is obviously a single meaning, not a list of different meanings, because different meanings are given in Wiktionary as a numerated list rather than a single line with commas. In Wiktionary, a single line with commas lists synonymous phrases or synonymous words to give an idea about the meaning.

Since "наехать" is given as a synonymous word, I also looked at its definition in Wiktionary:

  1. столкнуться при езде, сбить при езде

  2. проехать или встать колесами на что-либо

  3. приехать внезапно, без предупреждения

  4. пренебр. приехать в большом количестве, обычно вопреки желанию местных

  5. жарг. начать оказывать давление, обычно с целью заставить выполнить какие-либо требования

  6. спец. кино, видео при помощи трансфокатора приблизить объект съёмки; плавно перейти на более крупный план

Obviously, the meaning of "наехать" in the definition of "понаехать" is the fourth meaning above, because it coincides with what is written further in the definition of "понаехать."

Thus, Wiktionary basically defines "понаехать" as "to come in big numbers."

And here is the problem: Wiktionary shows conjugation of "понаехать" as follows:

Я понае́ду понае́хал понае́хала

Ты понае́дешь понае́хал понае́хала

Он понае́дет понае́хал

Она понае́хала

Оно понае́хало

Мы понае́дем понае́хали

Вы понае́дете понае́хали

Они понае́дут понае́хали

Пр. действ. прош. понае́хавший

What I cannot understand is how a single person can come in big numbers. The very definition of "понаехать" as it stands in Wiktionary excludes using this verb in any single person form. From the logical standpoint, only plural forms of this verb are permissible, yet single person forms are provided in the conjugation table.

I did some research in Google and found that "понаехать" is quite often used in single person forms, for example:

Сейчас я понаехал в Великобританию на второй семестр и буду рассказывать и об этой стране тоже. (Source)

This led me to suspect that the definition of "понаехать" in Wiktionary is wrong. I am very much puzzled. Overall, I am confused by this crazy combination of two prefixes.

My question is this: What is the precise meaning of "понаехать," and who is wrong - the Wiktionary contributors who defined "понаехать" as "to come in big numbers" or people who use "понаехать" in single person forms? I am also curious how the meaning of "понаехать" is different from the fourth meaning of "наехать" if there is any difference.

  • 4
    An important note: in its direct (non-ironical) usage «понаехать» is a derogatory word used to express irritability in a massive and unwanted driving into your home city or town. Especially when you refer not a process, but such persons themselves (понаехалово, that is extremely derogatory). So this word should be used carefully. Jun 17 '19 at 18:29
  • The word is by itself is only mildly offensive, if at all. It's the idea that legal immigrants are unwelcome and shouldn't have dared to show up uninvited that's xenophobic, but it remains xenophobic no matter which words you use, @ߊߚߤߘ Jun 18 '19 at 22:02
  • "я понаехал" it is a deliberate misuse of the verb for ironic or comic effect, it can be expanded to longer but more correct (although, arguably, less funny) forms "я присоединился к числу понаехавших" or "в числе других понаехавших, я также прибыл". Mar 5 '20 at 20:00

Понаехать here is used in the sense 4 in Wiktionary: "to come in big numbers, not being welcome".

It's usually used when talking of big cities, like Moscow or St. Petersburg, because that's where people go in big numbers, not being welcome by those who came into these cities in big numbers a year earlier.

Normally, it's used in impersonal constructs:

Во лимиты́ понаехало!

This refers to the Soviet policy of limiting unrestricted growth of big cities by setting a quota on the number of new residents who could legally settle in the city and allocating this quota to the enterprises which needed the influx of the workforce the most.

This quota policy was called лимит прописки and people who matched this quota were called лимитчики or, colloquially, лимита́.

By definition, you alone cannot some in big numbers, that's why it's not normally used with singular personal subjects.

So the usage of понаехал with a personal singular subject, or when talking about small groups of people, is ironic.

Я понаехал в Москву

literally means "I came to Moscow in big numbers, being unwelcome", however it's understood to actually mean just "I moved to Moscow" or other place lots of people are moving to, usually not being especially welcome and having to overcome obstacles on their way.

  • Thanks for such a detailed answer. Which grammatical case is "лимиты́" in "Во лимиты́ понаехало"? Is "лимиты́" подлежащее or дополнение in this sentence?
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 17 '19 at 12:25
  • It's singular genitive. Grammatically, it's a complement to implied много (понаехало много лимиты, compare to пришло много людей), semantically it's an agent.
    – Quassnoi
    Jun 17 '19 at 12:31
  • @Mitsuko: See also Русский форум Англии "Понаехали Тут!" :)
    – tum_
    Jun 17 '19 at 14:49

The colloquial пона- prefix, in general, describes something done to excess.

Понастроили домов! — Too many houses have been built!
Понапокупали прав! — Too many people have bribed their way to a driving license without bothering to learn the road rules!
Понапривозили хлама! — Too much junk has been brought in!

  • 1
    It not just describes excess, it also conveys irritation or annoyance of the speaker with it. Mar 5 '20 at 20:05

To extend the other answers:

One can use понаехать in the singular when the subject denotes a group of people (собирательные существительные):

  • Деревенский люд понаехал.
  • Татарва понаехала.
  • Быдло понаехало.

"Понаехать" is a semi-joking verb used to describe the action of migrating somewhere where you are not welcome, like in phrase "понаехали тут понимаешь!". It's usage is strictly colloquial and usually it is used in 3rd person, plural, so it's "понаехали".

Using it like in "ну и я понаехал во Францию" is even more ironic and even more colloquial. It's almost like a joke.

  • Thanks for such a quick answer. So "я понаехал" is equivalent to jokingly saying, "I migrated in big numbers"? Or precisely where is the irony?
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 17 '19 at 11:56
  • it may imply that you were not the only one who did such thing but it also can imply nothing at all - it's just a foolish way to say you've migrated.
    – shabunc
    Jun 17 '19 at 11:57
  • 4
    Or is "я понаехал" like, "I am a part of a big unwelcome migration process"?
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 17 '19 at 11:57
  • @Mitsuko yep, this is closer )))
    – shabunc
    Jun 17 '19 at 11:57
  • in and of itself it's not a joke, but a legitimate prefix whose use is not confined to the verb ехать Jun 17 '19 at 14:38

I do not know why your dictionary does not include the following meaning for наехать: to move(by transport) oneselves onto one place. For instance: на ярмарку наехало много продавцов из окрестных деревень.

Now, понаехать adds repeatedness to this. Thus already repeated action gets additional repeating prefix. This can be understood as different sets of people наехали. For instance, people of several different ethnicities or occupations separately (each ethnicity/occupation independently of others) наехали (collected themselves) in a certain place.

  • I'd rather say this meaning for "наехать" is valid but getting obsolete.
    – shabunc
    Jun 19 '19 at 13:57

It's perfectly fine (though colloquial and humorous) to use "понаехать" with singular subject and it doesn't conflict with "to come in big numbers, not being welcome" sense. You're simply attributing that subject to part of those "big numbers".

"я понаехал <куда-либо>" = "I came uninvited, just like pretty much everyone else".

  • you answer doesn't add anything new to the answers already provided
    – shabunc
    Jun 18 '19 at 18:05

What I cannot understand is how a single person can come in big numbers.

Obliviously, as part of the "big numbers". I mean, "я понаехал" - is a self-joking, a sarcastic phrase meaning participation in a large number of people, who came to the city against the will of inhabitants. Ну или как-то так, да.

  • 1
    Welcome to Russian SE! Just be aware - posting an answer that doesn't contribute anything new to the answers already provided - is a reliable way to get down-votes.
    – shabunc
    Jun 19 '19 at 22:08

As a native speaker, I can tell you for sure that "я понаехал" is a broken language and I don't recommend you to say that. Some people might use it jokingly or not, but it just sounds very uneducated. Mind you, even native speakers might not know how to speak properly.

Wiktionary conjugations of "понаехать" for "Я", "Ты", "Он", "Она", "Оно" are wrong. They are technically correctly spelled but the verb "понаехать" can not be used together with these pronouns.

The only proper use of this phrase is plural, like "понаехали тут" or "народу понаехало". You always use it in the third person, even if you're indirectly implying the meaning to a particular person.

Keep in mind that "понаехали тут" is a vulgar phrase and phrases like "народу понаехало" sound quite rural. If you use them in the company of people who have never seen you before, it will not make a good first impression. It's much safer, if you're trying to be funny among your friends, for example, and this kind of humor is up to their liking.

  • 2
    this is a Stack about Russian language - the actual, thriving Russian language - whether we like it or not - there are some colloquial expressions that do exist - denying their existence just won't help. Also, this does not answer the question stated, therefore it's not an answer.
    – shabunc
    Jun 18 '19 at 11:56
  • 1
    First of all, I gave a specific answer to the question - certain Wiktionary conjugations are wrong, read my post. I was born and live in Moscow, and this particular phase is definitely not a part of "thriving" Russian language, it's a trash broken language that I don't recommend foreigners to learn and use.
    – alikim
    Jun 19 '19 at 12:18
  • de-facto it's widely used and recognizable
    – shabunc
    Jun 19 '19 at 12:19
  • "it will not make a good first impression" - it's completely a projection of your own "good" and "bad" onto the person who asks a question. I am a native speaker and can say that this word doesn't give an impression of a rude or uneducated person. So you aren't giving information, you are giving your own subjective opinion, mate. It looks that you like to give advice when not asked for it and you like to project your fears and prejudices. Maybe you need some help? Because you sound very insecure and rude yourself. Which is funny after giving advice on being polite. :--)
    – Serg Z.
    Jun 21 '19 at 17:39

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