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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 the 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 a 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 puzzled. Overall, I'm 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 singular person forms? I'm also curious as to how the meaning of "понаехать" is different from the fourth meaning of "наехать" if there is any difference.

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  • 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 22:02
  • 1
    "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, 2020 at 20:00

11 Answers 11

22

Понаехать here is used in the sense 4 in Wiktionary: "to go in large numbers to a place where one isn't welcome".

It's normally used in reference to big cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg because that's where people go in large numbers and aren't welcomed by those who flocked to 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 the 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 "flock" somewhere in large 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 sarcastic.

Я понаехал в Москву

literally means "I came to Moscow in large numbers, where I wasn't welcome." However, it's understood to actually just mean "I moved to Moscow" or some other place where lots of people are moving and where one is usually not especially welcome, and having to overcome obstacles along the way.

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  • 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 12:31
  • @Mitsuko: See also Русский форум Англии "Понаехали Тут!" :)
    – tum_
    Jun 17, 2019 at 14:49
23

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 into getting a driver's license without bothering to learn the road rules!
Понапривозили хлама! — Too much junk has been brought in!

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    It not just describes excess, it also conveys irritation or annoyance of the speaker with it. Mar 5, 2020 at 20:05
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To supplement the other answers:

One can use понаехать in the singular with collective nouns (собирательные существительные) which denote a group of people:

  • Дереве́нский люд понаехал.
  • Татарва́ понаехала.
  • Бы́дло понаехало.
4

"Понаехать" is a verb used half in jest to describe the action of migrating somewhere where you're not welcome, as in the phrase "понаехали тут понимаешь!". It's usage is strictly colloquial, and it's normally used in the 3rd person plural, so it's "понаехали".

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

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  • 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, 2019 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, 2019 at 11:57
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    Or is "я понаехал" like, "I am a part of a big unwelcome migration process"?
    – Mitsuko
    Jun 17, 2019 at 11:57
  • @Mitsuko yep, this is closer )))
    – shabunc
    Jun 17, 2019 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, 2019 at 14:38
2

I don't know why your dictionary doesn't include the following meaning for наехать: to flock (by means of transport) to a certain place. For instance: на ярмарку наехало много продавцов из окрестных деревень. Lots of vendors from the surrounding villages flocked to the fair.

Now, понаехать adds a sense of repetition to this. Here, an action that already expresses repetition gets an additional prefix that also expresses repetition. This can be understood to mean that different sets of people наехали. For instance, people of various ethnicities or occupations separately (each ethnicity/occupation independently of others) наехали (gathered themselves) in a certain place.

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  • I'd rather say this meaning for "наехать" is valid but getting obsolete.
    – shabunc
    Jun 19, 2019 at 13:57
0

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 said about oneself in jest, a sarcastic phrase expressing inclusion in a large number of people who came to a city against the will of its residents. Ну или как-то так, да.

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    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, 2019 at 22:08
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This breach of the "semantic contract" is intentional here. It makes for a humorous effect. You can also consider this usage an occasionalism. Consider the following elaboration with the same joking tone:

Сейчас я понаехал в Великобританию, понастроился тут, заземлился, так сказать.

One more example of unwelcome actions:

Многодетным понадавали кредитов, те рады стараться, понаделали детишек.

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  • Your response would be much more meaningful if you translated your examples into English. I, for one, don't understand them.
    – CocoPop
    Feb 19 at 14:51
  • 2
    @CocoPop “By now, I have понаехал to the UK, пона-built myself a place, got myself grounded [as in electrically], so to speak”, “Loans were пона-issued to families with many children, and those families, happy that their efforts were recognized, пона-made children” (unclear whether the phrase means they gave birth to even more children or only refers to the existing ones). Feb 19 at 22:22
  • Yeah, I know families in Belarus who decided to give birth to the fourth child just because they received a subsidy from the government for the third child. And for the fourth child they would get like a free flat. Feb 20 at 17:24
0

It's perfectly fine (though colloquial and humorous) to use "понаехать" with a singular subject, and it doesn't conflict with the sense "to go in large numbers to place where one isn't welcome". You're simply attributing that subject to one part of those "large numbers".

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

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  • you answer doesn't add anything new to the answers already provided
    – shabunc
    Jun 18, 2019 at 18:05
0

According to the other responses from Russian natives, I'll offer the idiomatic equivalent(s) of this verb in English.

If I understood everything correctly, the form понаехал, when used with singular я, implies I joined the unwelcome masses and flocked to/converged on a certain place, but with a certain humor, since it's a singular form playing out in a plural concept: flocking somewhere en masse.

If you want to preserve the humor inherent in the Russian form, you can say I lemminged here(, much to the displeasure of the locals). Just like in Russian, lemming as a verb is commonly used with groups. Using it in the first person singular is "marked," but quite idiomatic, understandable and funny in the right context.

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[...] who is wrong [...] or people who use "понаехать" in singular person forms?

Not worthy of a full answer, just adding one more valid case of the use of the singular person form of a verb:

"... тех, кто понаехал ..." = " ... those, who have flocked/crowded ... ".

Russian prefers a singular verb after "who", even though "who" may actually refer to multiple "those". The plural form of the verb could be used as well in certain cases, and is propably stylistically marked.

This isn't specific to "понаехать"; any other verb could be singular in a phrase like this.

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

The Wiktionary conjugations of "понаехать" for "я", "ты", "он", "она", "оно" are wrong. They are technically spelled correctly, but the verb "понаехать" can't be used with these pronouns.

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

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 you're not acquainted with, it won't make a good first impression. It's much safer to use when you're trying to be funny in front of your friends, for example, and this kind of humor is to their liking.

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    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, 2019 at 11:56
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    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, 2019 at 12:18
  • de-facto it's widely used and recognizable
    – shabunc
    Jun 19, 2019 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, 2019 at 17:39
  • Good heavens, you make it sound like they're going to take you out back and execute you if you say this.
    – CocoPop
    Feb 19 at 14:58

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