I have read in various sources : «жизнь в полосочку» or «через полосочку в клеточку»

Is this roughly equivalent to saying “life is up and down?” I’m having trouble finding an explanation of this figurative expression about stripes and squares. What does it mean ?


There's a saying небо в клеточку, друзья в полосочку ("checkered skies, striped friends") which is a metaphor for prison. This refers to the windows grills and prison uniforms.

There's another, unrelated idiom черная полоса, literally "black stripe" or "black streak" which means "a rough patch" (in someone's life), and its opposite белая полоса (literally "white stripe").

It's hard to say for sure without context what exactly do your sentences mean, and I've never heard them in the very form you're quoting them, but I'd think they allude to one of these metaphors.

  • 1
    Google says the exact phrase через полосочку в клеточку is found just in one and only text and in its reposts on different sites. The text is just a list of different presumably witty but actually commonplace answers to the question "Как дела?", через полосочку в клеточку being one of those answers. Most of those answers are utter nonsense, so I'm afraid that's the case with через полосочку в клеточку, too. "No meaning intended", that's what it means.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 24 '20 at 18:38

"Life sometimes like a zebra: black and white stripes one after another" — it's one way of saying pretty common idea that "life is up and down".

«Жизнь как зебра: белая полоса, чёрная полоса, и в конце задница», «Не переживай, скоро и у тебя будет светлая полоса», and many other ways of putting «жизнь» and «полоса/полосочка» in one sentence — it's usually related to that metaphor with a zebra, so indeed, «жизнь в полосочку» is "life is up and down".

The second one is a pretty interesting wording even for a native speaker.
"Небо в клеточку" relates to a prison (windows grills), and probably could shrink to just "в клеточку".

So I believe «через полосочку в клеточку» it's combination of two idioms above about a zebra and a prison — "after a next turn in my life, it's going to be very bad".

Someone with an anxiety could say that, or as motto for not to be carefree.

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