5

In this passage, I'm wondering if встал колом is correct (I didn't write this - it was written by a native Russian speaker on a forum for anecdotes), and if so, what is the literal interpretation word for word?

Рассказал сегодня знакомый, далее от первого лица. Купили себе в офис шредер. Небольшой, максимально 6 листов за раз жуёт, но нам больше и не нужно. Объяснил, что к чему всем. Десять раз повторил что 6 листов максимум. Сижу работаю. К шредеру подходит Ира (имя изменено), берет 6 листов, сворачивает пополам и суёт в шредер. Тот встал колом, не работает, завтра в ремонт повезу.

1
  • 2
    "Stopped/stuck dead" is a good translation if you need an idiomatic expression.
    – AR.
    Nov 3 '19 at 23:21
6

When something is completely stuck, most likely in a perpendicular position - it's "встать колом".

Examples of usage:

  • Проспект Гагарина встал колом из-за ДТП. (There's a trafic jam on Gagarina Avenue because of an accident).
  • В Химках из-за взрыва водопроводных труб асфальт встал колом. (There's a hump in the asphalt following a water pipe explosion).

The other meaning is to harden:

  • Из-за застывшей грязи плащ встал колом. (The coat became stiff with dirt).

Oh, and it's worth mentioning that we also use the phrase "стоять колом в горле" - when something is hard to swallow and it feels like it's stuck.

7
  • Thank you, Shahen! Is there any way you can translate your wonderful examples into English?
    – CocoPop
    Nov 3 '19 at 17:30
  • 1
    @CocoPop added some approximate translations.
    – shabunc
    Nov 3 '19 at 17:37
  • 1
    @CocoPop the shredder "встал колом" )
    – shabunc
    Nov 3 '19 at 18:59
  • 1
    And is it ко́лом or коло́м?
    – CocoPop
    Nov 3 '19 at 22:14
  • 2
    @CocoPop кóлом (first vowel is stressed)
    – shabunc
    Nov 3 '19 at 22:17
2

I am not a native speaker and encountered this Russian expression only once, in a very different context: a man's physiological reaction to a sexually attractive woman...

4
  • 1
    Well after Shabunc's explanation, that would make perfect sense! 😅
    – CocoPop
    Nov 3 '19 at 18:27
  • 2
    I, as native speaker, never heard that someone use "Встать колом" in this meaning. While it is possible to use in this way, i don't think it's common. But maybe it depends on area and people you're talking to
    – RedVarVar
    Nov 6 '19 at 8:44
  • Also a native speaker, never heard anyone use it this way.
    – Catsunami
    Nov 22 '19 at 17:49
  • This looks like a joke. I never encountered this as a native speaker. It makes a funny impression of being literally OK but the idiom means stuck, broke, so it somehow makes a contrast between idiomatic and literal meaning.
    – Anixx
    Feb 5 '20 at 17:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.