I just sent a message to a language exchange partner and instantly received the following response:

давай завтра, я сейчас в неадеквате

What does this expression mean? Has he tied one on?


3 Answers 3


First of all, let me note that English "inadequate" and Russian неадекватный (in its direct sense) have slightly different meanings. The English word means "insufficient", the Russian one means "inappropriate, not conforming to norms or expectations".

In English, "adequate effort" would mean that the effort was enough to achieve a goal (even if it was out of order); in Russian, адекватные усилия would mean "appropriate, reasonable effort", something you would expect from a person in a situation, even if it did not actually achieve the goal.

So, неадекватная реакция на происходящее ("inappropriate response to external events") is a set phrase used in medical speech, describing a symptom of various mental disorders.

This phrase has spilled into the mainstream speech at some point (probably early 90's), and through metonymy неадекватный человек started to mean "a person with mental issues", which is quite close in meaning to "unreasonable person".

Further metonymy gave rise to the phrase не в адеквате meaning "having mental issues" and, then, "not being oneself" (due to the actual mental issues, stress, sleep deprivation, intoxication etc.)

So я сейчас не в адеквате (or в неадеквате) means "I'm not able to reason clearly at the moment".

  • I would say that неадекватный has two meanings, one similar to 'inadequate', 'insufficient' (Меры оказались неодекватными), and the other 'mental' / 'not oneself'. Dec 10, 2019 at 12:46
  • @SergeySlepov: exactly, but isn't that what my post is about? I was just trying to explain how did the latter meaning come to life
    – Quassnoi
    Dec 10, 2019 at 12:51
  • 1
    The first paragraph of your post to me suggests that неадекватный only has one meaning. Maybe I'm just reading it wrong. Dec 10, 2019 at 19:56

It's a general indication that the person you're talking to is not in the right condition to respond right now. The reasons could be numerous, including but not limited to:

  • They're very upset with something.
  • They're very mad at something.
  • They're very tired.
  • They're having a bout of other mental health issues.
  • They're drunk or under an influence.

In colloquial Russian, неадекватный has developed a second meaning, 'abnormal', mentally or behaviourally inadequate, 'mental'.

Thus, your friend is simply saying "I'm not myself at the moment."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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