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?

4 Answers 4


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 a context what exactly your sentences mean, and I've never heard them in the very form you're citing them, but I'd think they allude to one of these metaphors.

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    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, 2020 at 18:38

"Life is sometimes like a zebra: black and white stripes, one after another" — this is one way of expressing a pretty common idea — that "life is up and down".

We have «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 combining «жизнь» and «полоса/полосочка» in one sentence, and it usually involves that metaphor with the zebra, so indeed, «жизнь в полосочку» means "life is up and down".

The second one has a pretty interesting wording — even for a native speaker.
"Небо в клеточку" refers to prison (windows grills), and could probably be reduced to just "в клеточку".

So I believe «через полосочку в клеточку» is a combination of the two idioms above about the zebra and the prison — "after the next turn in my life, things are going to get very bad".

Someone with anxiety could say that, or as motto for not being carefree.


«жизнь в полосочку» - life is up and down.

«через полосочку в клеточку» - to jail, get out, to jail again and so on.

"А ты? Ты - вор! Джентльмен удачи! Украл, выпил - в тюрьму. Украл, выпил ― в тюрьму. Романтика!"

"Джентельмены удачи"


Simple stuff-полосочка is a little полоса or a girl полоса(line). Text me if you want a simple description of Russian words, i will always help!

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    Jesse, on this site, we strive to give educated and informative answers and information that can be referenced by future users with the same questions. This isn't a "text me!" kind of site. Please observe the tenor and format of other answerers before posting your own.
    – CocoPop
    Jul 27, 2022 at 20:18

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