I read the following comment online:

Не сомневаюсь, что и вы умеете выражаться, да ещё похлеще, думаю.

From the context, I gather that it means I have no doubt that you know how to go off on someone - and even worse/harsher(?) than this, I'd imagine, but I can't figure out what adjective it comes from and whether it's похлеще or похлёще.

  • 3
    It's похлеще, not похлёще. Upvoted to encourage the others...
    – tum_
    Commented Jun 23, 2020 at 20:25
  • 1
    Zalizniak's "Grammatical Dictionary" lists both хлестче and хлёстче. Also note the spelling -стч- which is logical: жёсткий - жёстче, not *жёще: gramdict.ru/search/хлёсткий. It does not list (по)хлеще at all, although I admit that it's currently the prevailing form. Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


The adjective is хлёсткий ("good at lashing"), the comparative is хлеще (not *хлёще)

It comes from хлестать "to lash" and means "trenchant, scathing, vitriolic".

Note that all these words, Russian and English alike, are metaphors which literally mean "causing damage or pain"

The pattern which is used to form this adjective (verb root + кий) means "good at doing something"

  • ловить "to catch" > ловкий "dexterous, cunning" (literally "good catcher")
  • ять "to take, to have, to seize" > ёмкий "capacious, concise" (literally "good taker or storer")
  • звенеть "to ring" > звонкий "sonorous, resonant"

or "easily affected by something":

  • ковать "to forge" > ковкий "malleable"
  • плавить "to fuse" > плавкий "fusible"
  • пасть "to fall" > падкий "susceptible, prone" (literally "easy to fall for something")
  • Excellent, that makes perfect sense. So it means BITING or SCATHING. Thank you for breaking it down. Since asking the question, I found a post that had the comparative as either хлестче or хлеще - I'm guessing the latter is more common?
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 13:15
  • Based on your wonderful explanation, I would change my translation as follows: "I have no doubt that you have the capacity to be quite vocal, and, I daresay, even more scathing than this."
    – CocoPop
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 13:18
  • 1
    @CocoPop: both are used, I'm not really sure which one is more common. I personally use хлеще.
    – Quassnoi
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 13:31
  • Какое ёмкое слово - ёмкий! Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:53

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